Supporting and protecting America’s workers are essential parts of rebuilding our economy. We must ensure that all families and communities share in our nation’s prosperity.
Our middle class was built on the rights and safeguards that labor unions fought to obtain. From the 40 hour workweek to ending child labor, union representation has helped to guarantee rights that many of us take for granted today. Unions negotiate for safe working conditions, living wages, and basic benefits that all impact all workers. Efforts to decrease the power of collective bargaining in this country in recent decades have been accompanied by an erosion of workers’ benefits and greater income inequality. As a member of the Labor and Working Families Caucus, I am committed to supporting the health and vitality of our working and middle classes through fair and democratic access to union representation.
Congress has the responsibility to strengthen our workforce and to ensure that all Americans have access to good jobs. Through Job Corps, such as St. Paul’s Hubert H. Humphrey Center, thousands of young people each year are provided with pathways to employment. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) ensures one-stop access to career training for adults, youth, and dislocated workers. Through Trade Adjustment Assistance, laborers who are displaced as a result of international trade are retrained for success in the workforce. As our military members return home from serving our country, it is our moral imperative to help them find employment. We can do this by training veterans to translate their valuable skills into civilian jobs and encourage employers to hire veterans. These are the types of efforts the federal government can make to improve the lives of working families and strengthen the middle class.