On the Issues:
Compassion for Working Families
Qasim Rashid seeks to deliver economic justice for every American across our diverse communities. We must define economic success not by outdated metrics such as stock market gains but as economic security for each and every working class American.
We can provide economic security by making sure workers get paid a living wage and what they deserve. Americans are working harder and more efficiently than ever, and we must respond by increasing the minimum wage, creating new jobs and protecting the environment with investments in green infrastructure, protecting workers’ rights and workplace safety, and enabling entrepreneurship.
- No American should face pay discrimination based on gender, race, or any other criteria that does not impact job performance and productivity.
- No American worker should have to decide between having a particular job and starting a family. A compassionate economy requires gender pay equity and paid family leave for every worker.
- It’s time to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour and index the minimum wage to cost of living increases. Wages and salaries paid to workers have not kept up with increasing worker productivity. We can help working families achieve economic security by making sure workers get paid for increased efficiency and hard work.
- We must protect gig-economy workers by enacting a Contract Labor Minimum wage of $25/hour. More and more Americans now make ends meet working several minimum wage or gig economy jobs. We must deliver common-sense solutions for these hard-working Americans. In many industries, employers use contract labor that no firm actually employs and take advantage of low-skilled workers and immigrants who have few choices. This includes contract labor in construction, rideshare, freelance writing, and other gig economy jobs.
- We can address climate change more aggressively while supporting American workers by creating millions of new jobs through investments in 21st Century transportation, utility, and green energy infrastructure. As the economy shifts from legacy fossil fuels and manufacturing to more technology-driven jobs we must guarantee retraining and reemployment in a green infrastructure job to workers displaced from obsolete extraction and manufacturing industries.
- Too many American workers depend on their job for health insurance. This limits their ability to seek new opportunities, including a chance to start small businesses. It limits their freedom. This system leaves those without employer health insurance subject to bankruptcy in the event them or a family member falls ill. We can empower American entrepreneurship and protect American working families from bankruptcy due to illness by passing Medicare for All and making sure every American has comprehensive health insurance with no copays, deductibles, or annual or lifetime caps.
- It’s time to protect workers’ rights and by repealing so-called “right-to-work laws” which regulate negotiations between labor and management by tying the hands of workers who want to organize and bargain collectively.. A functional economy requires a labor force that can negotiate with employers on an even playing field.
- US corporations have turned labor into a commodity. At-will employment laws make it possible for employers to ignore the dignity of the human beings who actually do the work. Firms need to have the ability to manage their workforce to meet changing requirements, but workers deserve security as well. We can give them some measure of security by mandating a lump-sum severance package for every worker not fired for cause based on wage or salary and length of service. Employers must extend health insurance coverage for employees who get coverage through their job for six months or until reemployed.
- Trade agreements like NAFTA do not require worker safety or environmental protections. Foreign companies can provide cheaper labor because they don’t have to comply with American safety regulations. American companies take advantage of lax regulations that put workers in danger. We need to protect American workers from unfair overseas competition by renegotiating trade agreements to include foreign worker protection. It’s time to levy a $10K tax surcharge, that cannot be offset with deductions, on every job corporations ship overseas or eliminate using technology, and use this revenue for retraining displaced workers.
- US tax policy punishes wage labor while protecting investment income from taxes. These policies contribute to income inequality and limit opportunities for Americans who have had no opportunity to build or inherit wealth. Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes are the clearest examples of this problem. Billionaires and members of American’s top 1% must pay their fair share. Our tax policies during the mid-20th century offered a more equitable tax model than the one we have today. We can make tax policy fairer and protect Social Security and Medicare by applying payroll taxes to all forms of income in any amount, including capital gains and other investment income and carried interest. This will lift up small businesses, the middle class, and working families all over the country.
- Every year, almost three million Americans suffer injuries or illness on the job. This includes workplace accidents in manufacturing, construction, and service industry workplaces and first responders exposed to disease and hazardous materials in the course of protecting the rest of us from these dangers. We need to strengthen general workplace safety rules and their enforcement. It’s also time to stop forcing first responders to jump through hoops to demonstrate a workplace connection when they face cancer and other diseases because of exposure to hazardous materials and dangerous chemicals.