John Kerry on Jobs

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Bush could make an impact on the loss of jobs

Q: Is it fair to blame the Bush administration entirely for the loss of jobs?

A: I donít blame them entirely for it. I blame Bush for the things he could do that has an impact on it. Outsourcing is going to happen. Iíve had shop stewards say, will you promise me youíre going to stop all this outsourcing? I canít do that. What I can promise you is that I will make the playing field as fair as possible, and make certain that the tax system is not subsidizing the loss of your job.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona , Oct 13, 2004

Bush cut job training money and ignored the unemployed

Notice how Bush switched away from jobs and started talking about education. Being lectured by Bush on fiscal responsibility is a little bit like Tony Soprano talking to me about law and order in this country. Bush has taken a $5.6 trillion surplus and turned it into deficits as far as the eye can see. Health care costs for the average American have gone up 64%. Tuitions have gone up 35%. Gasoline prices up 30%. Medicare premiums went up 17% a few days ago. Prescription drugs are up 12% a year. But guess what, America? The wages of Americans have gone down. The jobs that are being created in Arizona now are paying about $13,700 less than the jobs that weíre losing. And Bush just walks on by this problem. The fact is that heís cut job training money - $1 billion was cut, they only added a little bit back this year because itís an election year. Theyíve wound up not even extending unemployment benefits and not even extending health care to those people who are unemployed.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona , Oct 13, 2004

Many things can be done to control jobs loss and outsourcing

If youíre an American business, you actually get a benefit for going overseas. You get to defer your taxes. I donít want American workers subsidizing the loss of their own job. When Iím president, weíre going to shut that loophole and use that money to lower corporate tax rates in America for all corporations, 5%. Weíre going to have a manufacturing jobs credit and a job hiring credit so we actually help people be able to hire here. The second thing we can do is provide a fair trade playing field. Bush had an opportunity to stand up and take on China for currency manipulation. There are companies that wanted to petition the Bush administration. They were told: Donít even bother; weíre not going to listen to it. There have been markets shut to us that we havenít stood up and fought for. Iím going to fight for a fair trade playing field for the American worker. I will fight for the American worker just as hard as I fight for my own job. Thatís what the American worker wants. We can have an impact.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ , Oct 13, 2004

FactCheck: 0.6M jobs lost under Bush, not 1.6M

KERRY: Now, the president has presided over an economy where weíve lost 1.6 million jobs. The first president in 72 years to lose jobs.

FACT CHECK: It is true that figures released earlier in the day show the economy is still down by 1.6 million private sector jobs since Bush took office, but the drop in total payroll employment-including teachers, firemen, policemen and other federal, state and local government employees-is down by much less than that-821,000. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a revision would add an estimated 236,000 payroll jobs to the total reducing the total to 585,000 jobs lost under Bush, about one-third of the number Kerry stated. But Kerry may turn out to be correct when he said Bush would be ďthe first president in 72 years to lose jobs.Ē Payroll employment has been growing at roughly 100,000 jobs per month for the past four months, and there are only four months to go until the end of Bushís term in January, 2005.

Source: Analysis of second Bush-Kerry debate by FactCheck 2004 , Oct 10, 2004

End tax incentives for companies to move jobs abroad

Q: How can the US be competitive in manufacturing and still pay the wages Americans have come to expect?

KERRY: There are a lot of ways to be competitive. And unfortunately again I regret this administration has not seized them and embraced them. Let me give you an example. There is a tax loophole right now. You get more money, you keep more of your taxes by going abroad. Iím going to shut that loophole, and Iím going to give the tax benefit to the companies that stay here in America to help make the more competitive. Secondly, weíre going to create a manufacturing jobs credit and a new jobs credit for people to be able to help hire and be more competitive here in America. Third, whatís really hurting American business more than anything else is the cost of health care. Now, you didnít hear any plan from the president, because he doesnít have a plan to lower the cost of health care.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO , Oct 8, 2004

Canít stop all outsourcing, but can level the playing field

Q: You talk about tax cuts to stop outsourcing. But when you have IBM documents that I saw recently where you can hire a programmer for $12 in China, $56 an hour here, tax credits wonít cut it.

KERRY: You canít stop all outsourcing. Iíve never promised that. Iím not going to, because that would be pandering. You canít. But what you can do is create a fair playing field, and thatís what Iím talking about.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO , Oct 8, 2004

2.7M manufacturing jobs lost under Bush

AD VIDEO: 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost: Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2001-2004.

AD NARRATOR: Millions of good jobs lost to plant closures and outsourcing. Yet President Bush protects tax breaks favoring corporations that move their headquarters overseas. America can do better. John Kerryís plan: End job-killing tax loopholes, and provide incentives to companies who create good jobs here. Because John Kerry believes we should export American products, not American jobs.

ANALYSIS: The Democratic National Committee says 2.7 million manufacturing jobs had been lost under Bush. Thatís true, but ignores the fact that manufacturing jobs started their decline three years before Bush took office. It actually declined by 0.5 million jobs between the peak reached in March, 1998 and when Clinton left office.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Check.org , Aug 11, 2004

Raise minimum wage to $6.65 by next year, then higher

Q: What increases, if any, do you favor in the $5.15 an hour federal minimum wage?

A: If I am elected president, I will continue to support increasing the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation. To begin with, I support increasing the minimum wage by $1.50 over the next year.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, ďMinimum WageĒ , Jan 25, 2004

Provide employment opportunities to minorities

Q: What would you do to close that gap between unemployment rates for whites and minorities?

A: The reason that exists is because we have an indifference, a casual indifference in the leadership of our country that ignores the fact that we have a separate and unequal school system in the US. We need a president who is going to fight against those special interests. Weíve got to change our attitude about how you raise kids in America, how you provide opportunity.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum , Jan 11, 2004

Weekly economic policy summit to create jobs

Our first has to be to put jobs back at the top of national agenda. As president, I will commit this country to turning the tide on manufacturing jobs. Iíll start with a tax incentive to encourage companies to keep jobs in America. I will also propose a job-creation tax credit that would give businesses a one time break from the payroll tax for every new worker they hire. and my health-care plan, which I will explain in a alter chapter, will stop spiraling health-care costs, one of the biggest problems facing businesses struggling to maintain employment levels.

Beyond any specific proposals, getting this economy moving gin, stopping job losses and creating new jobs depends on national leadership that believes it can make a difference and can muster the courage and imagination to do so. If elected president, I will hold economic policy once week for the first six months of my administration, aimed at developing targeted strategies to create jobs in key regions and key industries.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 74-5 , Oct 1, 2003

Trade grows jobs

Q [to Dean]: You have said that Kerry lacks an understanding of the job loss in this country.

DEAN: I think thatís true. I want a successful trade policy, but Iím no longer willing to sacrifice the jobs of middle-class Americans in order to pad the bottom lines of multinational corporations. Trade has to be fair to workers, not just multinational corporations. And I think Senator Kerry is insensitive to the plight of American workers who have lost their manufacturing jobs.

KERRY: Iím not insensitive to the jobs. Iím desperately concerned about those jobs. But you donít fix them by pandering to people and telling them youíre going to shut the door. You have to grow jobs. We need to increase our commitment to science in America, to venture capital, to the kinds of incentives that draw capital to the creation of jobs. Democrats canít love jobs and hate the people who create them. We need to encourage job creation and trade, but fair trade, and Iíve shown how that can happen.

Source: [X-ref Dean] Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Jump start jobs at home via energy independence

We need to jump-start jobs here at home. We have an extraordinary ability, an entrepreneurial capacity second to no people on the planet. Education could be more invigorated, science could be more invigorated, the most anti-science administration in modern history. We need to push energy. Energy independence for the US will create thousands of jobs in our country. We need to push the environmental standards.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico , Sep 4, 2003

We need job opportunities, not photo opportunities

I am here today with a message for the President of the United States. Mr. President, when I was in the Navy I learned something about aircraft carriers, for real. And landing on an aircraft carrier at the hands of a good, well-trained Navy pilot does not make up for a failed economic policy in this country. It doesnít make up for union busting, it doesnít make up for degrading our environment, it doesnít make up for standing in the way of civil rights, and it wonít convince America to allow you to privatize Social Security. Americans, Mr. President, donít want a photo opportunity, they want job opportunities, and itís long since time that we created them in this country. I am running for President of the United States to put America back on track, to put Americans back to work, and to make it clear that the one person in the United States who ought to be laid off is George W. Bush.
Source: Speech at 2003 Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC , Jun 5, 2003

Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.

Congressional Summary:Revises the formula for Tier-1 amounts a state credits to an applicant's emergency unemployment compensation account. Increases the figures in the formula from 50% to 80% of the total amount of regular compensation ; and from 13 to 20 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. CHARLES RANGEL (D, NY-15): The House, for weeks, has attempted to save the free world from a fiscal disaster. We have bailed out the banks and those who held mortgages. At the same time, we provided for energy extensions, we provided tax breaks for those people that tax provisions have expired. We provided for hurricane relief, for mental health. So over $1 trillion is out there for this House to ease the pain of millions of Americans.

While we were dealing with these gigantic powers, we overlooked the fact that over the last 12 months the number of unemployed workers has jumped by over 2 million, leaving 10 million Americans struggling for work. These are hardworking people that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Rep. JERRY WELLER (R, IL-11): This important legislation provides additional needed assistance to the long-term unemployed. It's important that we pass this legislation today as our last act before we leave for the election campaign.

This legislation focuses the most additional benefits on workers and States where the unemployment rate is highest and where jobs are hardest to find. This program continues the requirement that those benefiting from extended unemployment benefits had to have worked at least 20 weeks. Americans were rightly concerned about proposals to eliminate that work requirement and allow 39 weeks or, under the legislation before us today, as many as 59 weeks of total unemployment benefits to be paid to those who have previously only worked for a few weeks.

Opponent's argument to vote No:None voiced.

Reference: Unemployment Compensation Extension Act; Bill HR.6867 ; vote number 2008-S214 on Nov 20, 2008

Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation:This bill was vetoed twice! Congress passed an identical bill in May, which Pres. Bush vetoed. Congress then discovered that a clerical error. A replacement bill was passed; then vetoed again by the President; and this is its "final" veto override.Congressional Summary:Provides for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through FY2012. Revises agricultural and related programs, including provisions respecting:
  1. commodity programs;
  2. conservation;
  3. trade;
  4. nutrition;
  5. credit;
  6. rural development;
  7. research and related matters;
  8. forestry;
  9. energy;
  10. horticulture and organic agriculture;
  11. livestock;
  12. crop insurance and disaster assistance;
  13. socially disadvantaged and limited resource producers; and
  14. miscellaneous programs.
President's veto message:I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 6124. The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, H.R. 2419, did not include the title III (trade) provisions that are in this bill. In passing H.R. 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on H.R. 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions [but did not].

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our trade objectives of securing greater market access for American farmers. [Hence] I must veto H.R. 6124.Proponents argument for voting YEA:We had a meeting this morning with the Secretary of Agriculture to talk about implementation. So [despite the two vetoes], the work has been going on within the department of agriculture to get ready for implementation.

This is a good bill. It has wide support in the Congress. It does address all of the issues that have been brought to the Agriculture Committee.

Reference: Veto Override on Food, Conservation, and Energy Act; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-151 on Jun 18, 2008

Voted NO on terminating legal challenges to English-only job rules.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education's English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ALEXANDER: Let me begin with this story. In March 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two employees in a Boston area thrift store. What had the Salvation Army done to earn this lawsuit from the Federal Government? Well, it had required its employees to speak English on the job. The English rule was clearly posted, and the employees were given a year to learn it. But this lawsuit means that a small business in Missouri would have to hire a lawyer in order to make sure they have a clear business reason to require their employees to speak our common language on the job.

So I have an amendment to bring some common sense to this subject. It would be to take $670,000 used by the EEOC, which it is using to bring actions against employers who require their employees to speak English.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KENNEDY: Let's look at what the law is and what the Alexander amendment provides. The law currently says that if there is a need to speak English on the job, fine; employers can require that. But employers cannot use English-only rules as an excuse when they want to fire minorities who are performing the job correctly. In this fact situation, those employees had performed the job correctly for 5 years.

In addition, this amendment reduces the EEOC's ability to fight all forms of discrimination because it cuts the entire budget. That means race, age, religion, and disability cases will be harmed. I hope the amendment will be defeated.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment passed, 54-44

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4222 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S058 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted YES on limiting farm subsidies to people earning under $750,000.

Vote on an amendment to bill H.R. 2419 (Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act): To improve the adjusted gross income limitation and use the savings to reduce the Federal deficit.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. KLOBUCHAR: The focus of this amendment is to make sure the subsidy and the safety net in the farm bill go to the people whom it will most help; that is, family farmers. The top 20 business recipients in the country have each gotten more than $3 million under this farm bill. Under the current system, a part-time farmer can have an income as high as $2.5 million from outside sources and still qualify for Federal farm benefits. I do not believe we should be handing out payments to multimillionaires, when these payments should be targeted to family farmers. This amendment places reasonable limits on the incomes of those who receive farm payments: If you are a full-time farmer, you can get the subsidies as long as your income does not exceed $750,000. If you are a part-time farmer or farm investor, you can participate in farm programs if your income does not exceed $250,000.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. CHAMBLISS: I am disheartened that farm program critics continue to try to lead us into believing that there is a vast army receiving benefits to which they are not entitled. Stories about people receiving program benefits continue to make the headlines. But most of the people I know in these situations don't consider themselves wealthy. This debate is not about wealthy landowners and millionaires receiving program benefits. It is really about farmers in general, regardless of their economic situation, receiving program benefits. A few short months ago the debate was about making payments to millionaires and now we are at $750,000 and people want to go even further. This amendment is actually an assault on everyday farmers; but is disguised as an assault on wealthy landowners and millionaires.

Reference: Klobuchar Amendment to Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act; Bill S.Amdt. 3810 to H.R. 2419 ; vote number 2007-426 on Dec 13, 2007

Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing.

    To enable employees to form & join labor organizations, and to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. Requires investigation that an employer:
    1. discharged or discriminated against an employee to discourage membership in a labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge employees in the exercise of guaranteed collective bargaining rights; and
    3. adds to remedies for such violations: back pay plus liquidated damages; and additional civil penalties.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    The principle at stake here is the freedom that all workers should have to organize for better working conditions & fair wages. There are many employers around the country who honor this freedom. Unfortunately, there are also many employers who do not. These employers attempt to prevent workers from unionizing by using tactics that amount to harassment, if not outright firing. In fact, one in five people who try to organize unions are fired. These tactics are already illegal, but the penalties are so minor, they are not effective deterrents.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    Democracy itself is placed at risk by this bill. The sanctity of the secret ballot is the backbone of our democratic process. Not one voter signed a card to send us here to Congress. None of us sent our campaign workers out to voters' houses armed with candidate information & a stack of authorization cards. No. We trusted democracy. We trusted the voters to cast their ballots like adults, freely, openly, without intimidation, and we live with the results. But here we are, poised to advance legislation to kill a secret ballot process.

    Let's be clear. Every American has the right to organize. No one is debating that. This is a right we believe in so strongly we have codified it and made it possible for workers to do so through a secret ballot.
    Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 51-48 (3/5ths required)

    Reference: Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-227 on Jun 26, 2007

    Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.

    Increase the federal minimum wage to:
    1. $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment;
    2. $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and
    3. $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    We have waited for over 10 years to have a clean vote on the minimum wage for the poorest workers in this country Low-wage workers had their wages frozen in time, from 10 years ago, but when they go to the supermarket, the food prices are higher; when they put gasoline in the car, the gasoline prices are higher; when they pay the utility bills, the utility bills are higher; when their kids get sick, the medical bills are higher. All of those things are higher. They are living in 2007, but in their wages they are living in 1997.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    This bill is marked more by what is not in the bill than what is in it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two-thirds of our Nation's new jobs, and they represent 98% of the new businesses in the US. What protection does this bill provide them? None whatsoever.

    We can do better. In the interest of sending the President a final measure that provides consideration for small businesses and their workers, the very men and women who are responsible for our economy's recent growth and strength, we must do better.

    Reference: Fair Minimum Wage Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2007-042 on Feb 1, 2007

    Voted YES on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25.

    Vote to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour, over a two-year time period, in three incremental stages. Without the amendment, the minimum wage would increase to $6.25 per hour.
    Reference: Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; Bill S AMDT 44 to S 256 ; vote number 2005-26 on Mar 7, 2005

    Voted NO on repealing Clinton's ergonomic rules on repetitive stress.

    Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders
    Reference: Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-15 on Mar 6, 2001

    Voted NO on killing an increase in the minimum wage.

    The Kennedy (D-MA) Amdt would have increased the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years, to $5.65 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2001. The Kennedy Amdt would have also provided $9.5 billion in tax cuts over five years.
    Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
    Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #2751; Bill S. 625 ; vote number 1999-356 on Nov 9, 1999

    Voted NO on allowing workers to choose between overtime & comp-time.

    This bill would have allowed workers to choose between overtime and compensatory time.
    Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
    Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a Committee amdt to S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1997-68 on May 15, 1997

    Voted NO on replacing farm price supports.

    Replaces farm price supports with seven years of annual fixed payments.
    Status: Bill Passed Y)64; N)32; NV)4
    Reference: Agriculture Market Transition Act of 1996; Bill S. 1541 ; vote number 1996-19 on Feb 7, 1996

    Protect overtime pay protections.

    Kerry signed a letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor

    To: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao

    Dear Secretary Chao:

    We write to express our serious concerns about the Department's proposed regulation on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These sweeping changes could eliminate overtime pay protections for millions of American workers.

    We urge you not to implement this new regulation that will end overtime protections for those currently eligible. Under current law, the FLSA discourages employers from scheduling overtime by making overtime more expensive. According to a GAO study, employees exempt from overtime pay are twice as likely to work overtime as those covered by the protections. Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before Ė longer than in any other industrial nation. At least one in five employees now has a work week that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour work week is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs. It is certainly not family friendly to require employees to work more hours for less pay.

    Overtime protections clearly make an immense difference in preserving the 40-hour work week. Millions of employees depend on overtime pay to make ends meet and pay their bills for housing, food, and health care. Overtime pay often constitutes 20-25% of their wages. These workers will face an unfair reduction in their take-home pay if they can no longer receive their overtime pay.

    We urge you not to go forward with any regulation that denies overtime pay protections to any of America's currently eligible hard-working men and women.

    Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor 03-SEN4 on Jun 30, 2003

    Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.

    Kerry scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on union issues

    As the federation of Americaís unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of Americaís workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

    The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

    Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

    Allow an Air Traffic Controller's Union.

    Kerry co-sponsored allowing an Air Traffic Controller's Union

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Federal Aviation Administration Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006: Prohibits the FAA from implementing any proposed change to the FAA personnel management system in cases where the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service do not lead to an agreement between the Administrator and FAA employees, unless Congress authorizes the change during the 60-day period. Requires binding arbitration if Congress does not enact a bill into law within the 60-day period.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: Because what air traffic controllers do is vital to our safety, I became very concerned by a letter I received from Illinois air traffic controller Michael Hannigan. He wrote that "the air traffic controllers are not being allowed to negotiate in good faith with the FAA."

    What was clear in Michael's plea was the sense that he and his colleagues felt that they were being treated unfairly. I looked into it and came to the conclusion that if we did not restore a fair negotiation procedure, it would threaten agency morale and effectiveness.

    The problem is this: the FAA Administrator currently has the extraordinary authority to impose wages and working conditions on her workers without arbitration. In order to do that, she merely has to declare an impasse in negotiations and if Congress does not stop her from imposing her terms and conditions within 60 days, the Administrator can go ahead and act unilaterally. That authority denies air traffic controllers and all other FAA employees the opportunity to engage in and conclude negotiations in good faith.

    It is in the best interest of the agency and public safety to have management and labor cooperate in contract negotiations.


    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

    Source: FAA Dispute Resolution Act (S.2201/H.R.4755) 06-S2201 on Jan 26, 2006

    Match minimum wage increases to Congressional pay raises.

    Kerry co-sponsored matching minimum wage increases to Congressional pay raises

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to provide for an increase in the Federal Minimum wage and to ensure that increases in the Federal minimum wage keep pace with any pay adjustments for Members of Congress.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This legislation will raise the minimum wage over the next two years and link future increases in the minimum wage to Congressional raises. Today, working parents earning the minimum wage are struggling to make ends meet and to build better lives for their children. The Federal minimum wage is currently $5.15 an hour, an amount that has not been increased since 1997. Sadly, during that time, Congress has given itself eight annual pay raises. We can no longer stand by and regularly give ourselves a pay increase while denying a minimum wage increase to help the more than 7 million men and women working hard across this nation. If Members of Congress need an annual cost of living adjustment, then certainly the lowest-paid members of our society do too.

    My legislation would increase the minimum wage first to $5.85 an hour, then to $6.55 an hour, and ultimately to $7.25 an hour within the next two years. In addition, my legislation then ensures that every time Congress gives itself a raise in the future that Americans get a raise too. This is the right and fair thing to do for hardworking Americans.

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; never came to a vote.

    Source: Standing with Minimum Wage Earners Act (S.2725) 06-S2725 on May 4, 2006

    Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot.

    Kerry signed H.R.1409&S.560

    Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

      Requires that priority be given to any charge that, while employees were seeking representation by a labor organization, an employer:
    1. discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee to encourage or discourage membership in the labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in order to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of guaranteed self-organization or collective bardaining rights; or
    3. engaged in any unfair labor practice that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of such guaranteed rights.
      Source: Employee Free Choice Act 09-HR1409 on Mar 10, 2009

      Extend unemployment compensation during recession.

      Kerry co-sponsored extending unemployment compensation during recession

      A bill to provide for a program of temporary extended unemployment compensation. Provides for federal-state agreements under which a state will make temporary extended unemployment compensation payments to individuals who:

      1. have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under state or federal law with respect to a benefit year (excluding any benefit year that ended before one year before the enactment of this Act);
      2. have no rights to regular compensation or extended compensation with respect to a week under such law or any other state or federal unemployment compensation law;
      3. are not receiving compensation for such week under the unemployment compensation law of Canada; and
      4. filed an initial claim for regular compensation on or after one year before the enactment of this Act.
      Source: Emergency Unemployment Extension Act (S.2544&H.R.4934) 2008-S2544 on Jan 22, 2008

      Ban discriminatory compensation; allow 2 years to sue.

      Kerry signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

        Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs when:
      1. a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted;
      2. an individual becomes subject to the decision or practice; or
      3. an individual is affected by application of the decision or practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid.
      Allows an aggrieved person to obtain relief, including recovery of back pay, for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to practices that occurred outside the time for filing a charge. Applies the preceding provisions to claims of compensation discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

      [Note: A woman named Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit for gender-based discriminatory compensation. The Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Ledbetter could only sue for damages going back 180 days, and the 180 days was calculated from the time her employment contract was initiated, i.e., her hire date. This new law changes the 180-day period to two years, and also calculates the date from the time of each paycheck, rather than the hire date. -- Ed.]

      Source: S.181&H.R.11 2009-S181 on Jan 29, 2009

      Stronger enforcement against gender-based pay discrimination.

      Kerry signed Paycheck Fairness Act

        A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex.
      • Revises the exception to the prohibition for a wage rate differential based on any other factor other than sex. Limits such factors to bona fide factors, such as education, training, or experience.
      • Prohibits employer retaliation for inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing the wages of the employee in response to a sex discrimination investigation.
      • Makes employers who violate sex discrimination prohibitions liable in a civil action for either compensatory or punitive damages.
      • States that any action brought to enforce the prohibition against sex discrimination may be maintained as a class action in which individuals may be joined as party plaintiffs without their written consent.
      Source: S.182&H.R.12 2009-S182 on Jan 8, 2009

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