O’Rourke’s Labor, Trade Policies Envision Strong Future For Unions

Workers will be able to join a union if the want to under 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke’s six-point labor plan that he recently released while in Iowa.

According to O’Rourke’s 21st Century Labor Contract that he will enact between workers, employers and the federal government, all workers: 

  1. Will be able to join a union if that’s what they want; 
  2. Will get paid a living wage regardless of industry; 
  3. Will need just one job to take care of their family and have time for a fulfilling life outside of work without sacrificing economic security; 
  4. Will be hired and paid based on what they do—not who they are; 
  5. Will have access to the training they need in a changing labor market; and 
  6. Will have access to a fair labor market. 

“We need to be there for workers across this country who have always been the engine of our economy,” said O’Rourke in a statement. “We need to keep up the fight for $15 an hour to ensure that one job is enough — and no one needs to work a second or third job to support themselves and their families. Only then can we build an economy that finally works for everyone in this country.” 

O’Rourke relayed the importance of his new plan to Iowans while at the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO conference in Des Moines. His plan will support nearly 130,000 employed wage and salary workers represented by unions in Iowa. 

“Traveling Iowa, listening to Independents and Democrats and Republicans alike, they are concerned about the teacher shortage in the state,” O’Rourke said. “That — again did not just happen in a vacuum — was a conscious decision of the state legislature here that removed the public bargaining rights of public employees, including public educators here in Iowa.”

“And so the tax payers here, many of you among them, have paid to train and raise teachers who are leaving this state for Minnesota, which is receiving a bumper crop of kindergarten teachers and physics teachers and people who could have made this community even better if their labor and their value was recognized in the laws that we passed,” O’Rourke continued.

O’Rourke’s labor plan will make sure Iowa can retain its teachers by guaranteeing collective bargaining rights for all workers.

“Beto believes that the right to join a union and collectively bargain is a human right,” according to a Medium post he authored. “He will champion legislation that ensures that all workers have this right, including public sector workers, agricultural and domestic service workers, as well as front-line supervisors and independent contractors.”

In addition to his labor plan, O’Rourke doubled down on his commitment to union workers when he recently revealed a plan for international trade, which includes negotiating new trade agreements with strong labor and environmental standards.

“This will make it easier for countries to compete with one another based on productivity and innovation instead of how successfully they suppress labor unions and how much they pollute the environment,” the plan reads. “All agreements will: Include the core labor rights of the International Labor Organization and other key labor protections such as strong county-specific minimum wages.”


by Paige Godden
Photo by Julie Fleming
Posted 9/1/19

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