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Brian Schatz on Jobs

 

 


Avoid economic stratification; it caused the 1954 revolution

Help the middle class: The intent of the 1954 political revolution in Hawai'i was to create equality and fairness for the working people of the plantations. The inequity of that time was based on race and class. The new challenge for our society is to prevent our state from becoming so stratified economically that it comprises only two classes--the rich and those who work for the rich.

Many island societies fall victim to this dilemma because their people have few economic options, the price of land escalates and the mobility of their citizens is limited. Sound familiar? The singular issue that will revitalize Democrats over the next 10 years, and give them a purpose for existence (not just the perpetuation of power), is to assist the middle class to prosper and remain in Hawai'i and to live a healthy, comfortable life with their children and grandchildren. That has to be done through tax policy, a real commitment to investing in education and a renewed effort on re-training our workforce.

Source: Honolulu Advertiser column by Rep. Brian Schatz , Oct 14, 2005

Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2016.

Schatz co-sponsored Minimum Wage Fairness Act

Congressional summary: Increases the federal minimum wage for employees to:

  1. $8.20 an hour beginning 6 months after enactment
  2. $9.15 an hour beginning 1 year later,
  3. $10.10 an hour beginning 2 years later, and
  4. an amount determined by increases in the Consumer Price Index, beginning annually after 3 years.

Proponent's argument in favor (RaiseTheMinimumWage.com): The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour remains decades out of date, and the federal minimum wage for tipped workers--$2.13 per hour--has not increased in over 20 years. The minimum wage of the past provided significantly more buying power than it does today. The minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1968 would be $10.56 today when adjusted for inflation.

Opponent's argument against: (Neil King in Wall Street Journal, Feb. 24, 2014): The CBO concluded that a jump in the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could eliminate 500,000 jobs. For Republicans, the report provided ammunition that a higher minimum wage would kill jobs. Democrats pointed to the CBO's findings that the higher wage would lift 900,000 people out of poverty. But both sides missed a key finding: That a smaller hike from the current $7.25 to $9.00 an hour would cause almost no pain, and still lift 300,000 people out of poverty while raising the incomes of 7.6 million people.

Congressional Budget Office report: Once fully implemented, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3%. Some people earning slightly more than $10.10 would also have higher earnings, due to the heightened demand for goods and services. The increased earnings for low-wage workers would total $31 billion. Accounting for all increases and decreases, overall real income would rise by $2 billion.

Source: S.1737 & H.R.1010 14-S1737 on Nov 19, 2013

Let Senate cafeteria workers organize their own union.

Schatz signed unionizing Senate cafeteria workers

Excerpts from Letter from 31 Senators to the Compass Group: Senate cafeteria workers are currently pushing for a union through the majority sign up process, but their employer, the Compass Group, has resisted the drive, even after the NLRB upheld charges against the company regarding discriminatory behavior. Although the Compass Group promised the NRLB they would end further unlawful intimidation, the Compass Group has discouraged their organizing campaign.

We request there that the Compass Group commit to reaching an agreement with the union seeking to organize these workers, and recognize the union as the worker's exclusive bargaining representative on the basis of majority representation of signed authorization cards.

OnTheIssues explanation: At issue is how the workers would unionize: the controversial aspect is the "majority of authorization cards," known as "card-check," which makes unionization much more likely.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Labor's Day is Over," Sep. 6/2009): Card-check would effectively abolish the secret ballot in workplace elections for union representation. It would also require employers to submit to binding government arbitration if they cannot reach an agreement with union representatives, forcing companies to submit to contracts that may imperil their very survival.

Opposing freedom argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Card Checks Block Free Choice," Feb. 21, 2007): Union activists argue that publicly signing a union membership card in the presence of union organizers, known as card-check organizing, is the only way that workers can freely choose to unionize. However, with card checks, union organizers know who has and has not signed up to join the union. This allows them to repeatedly approach and pressure reluctant workers. With this technique, a worker's decision to join the union is binding, while a decision to opt out only means "not this time."

Source: Letter to Compass Group 15LTR-COM on Nov 13, 2015

Sponsored bill for strengthening union organizing.

Schatz co-sponsored PRO Act

H.R.842 & S.420: Protecting the Right to Organize Act: This bill expands various labor protections related to employees' rights to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace:

  1. revises the definitions of employee, supervisor, and employer to broaden the scope of individuals covered by the fair labor standards;
  2. permits labor organizations to encourage participation of union members in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (i.e., secondary strikes); and
  3. prohibits employers from bringing claims against unions that conduct such secondary strikes.
The bill also allows collective bargaining agreements to require all employees represented by the bargaining unit to contribute fees to the labor organization for the cost of such representation.

Biden Administration in SUPPORT: The Administration strongly supports The PRO Act. America was not built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions put power in the hands of workers. H.R. 842 would strengthen and protect workers' right to form a union by assessing penalties on employers who violate workers' right to organize.

Rep. Mo Brooks in OPPOSITION: H.R. 842 [is] a radical union bill that tramples the rights of citizens by forcing them to enter into union servitude, including:

Legislative Outcome:Passed House 222-204-4 (Rollcall 82) on 03/09/2021; received and read in the Senate on 3/23; no further Senate action during 2021.
Source: H.R.842/S.420 21-HR842 on Feb 4, 2021

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