Advancing Labor Rights and Good Jobs

Unions and working people power our nation. Too often, Democrats have asked rank-and-file policymakers to choose between party loyalty and support for organized labor. We cannot let this continue.

I have been an outspoken advocate for labor throughout my decade in the legislature. Just last year, I stood strong in the fight to protect public pensions for educators and state employees. I was the only State Senator to stand with our educators and civil servants on the State House steps to protect the pensions they were promised. In 2015, I took on Democratic Leadership to defend educators’ rights to bargain collectively and preserve their right to strike.

It is not enough for our goal to be the creation of jobs. We need strong advocates in Montpelier who will build partnerships with labor to ensure these are good, safe jobs that pay the kind of wages that can support a family. Every worker deserves a living wage, which is why I strongly support raising the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour, with automatic increases to keep pace with inflation, and closing loopholes that allow employers to pay subminimum wages. 

We must also protect and strengthen workers’ rights to have a voice on the job by making it easier to form a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. That’s why I support passing the PRO Act and the Public Sector Freedom to Negotiate Act, bills that would reverse decades of attacks on workers’ rights. 

Additionally, federal investments should support the employers who do right by their employees, and no federal funds should be used to undermine workers’ rights or drive down local wages. Federal infrastructure investments should use Project Labor Agreements and comply with prevailing wage requirements, and federal procurement must meet strict Buy America standards to support jobs here at home.

Finally, we must expand access to high-quality, registered apprenticeships to give more workers opportunities to receive top-notch skills training while earning wages that can support a family.

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