Cory Booker on Jobs

Mayor of Newark; N.J. Senator; 2020 presidential contender (withdrawn)


Unions: This dream ain't free; you gotta work for it

Booker told viewers he was only able to speak on the final night of the party's convention because of a "union job" secured a half-century ago by his grandfather--who "left the Jim Crow South for Detroit, joined the UAW and got a job on the assembly lines during World War II."

"He'd tell us, 'Take another by the hand, and another, and let's get to work. This dream ain't free. You gotta work for it,'" Booker said.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 21, 2020

Increase union strength to improve workers' conditions

I stood with unions because right now, unions in America are under attack. As union membership has gone down, we have seen a stratification of wealth and income in this country. I'll begin to fight to see union strength in this country spread, to make sure we have sectorial bargaining so that unions from the auto workers all the way to fast food workers can ensure that we improve workers' conditions and make sure that every American has a living wage in this country.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

Supports $15 minimum wage; pays campaign staff at least that

Q: You support a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Do you pay your campaign staff that?

BOOKER: You know, we have said in our campaign that we're not only going to pay our campaign staff that, but we're going to pay interns as well. Not only do we pay our campaign staff wages that reflect what my values are, but we actually make sure that we have inclusive campaigns, diverse campaigns.

Q: So it's $15 an hour minimum?

BOOKER: It's $15 an hour or more than that, yes.

Source: CNN "SOTU" 2019 on 2020 candidates , Jul 21, 2019

Pilot program to fund jobs paying at least $15/hour

His proposed jobs guarantee plan would establish a 3-year pilot program that gives 15 local areas funding to provide all residents a job paying at least $15 an hour.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 6, 2019

Supports $15 minimum wage and guaranteed jobs

Booker supports a $15 minimum wage and calls it "unacceptable" for Americans to "work a full-time job and still live in poverty." He also backs a pilot program that would provide grants to guarantee everyone a job and paid sick leave. Last year, Booker sponsored legislation to eliminate the income gap by creating a savings account for every child that could grow to as much as $46,000 by their 18th birthday. The "opportunity account" could be used to pay for home ownership or higher education.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2019

Fair wage jumpstarts consumer spending and creates jobs

Sen. Booker believes that anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules should be able to succeed in America. He supports raising the minimum wage because he knows that when a family is able to earn a fair wage, they are able to create a more stable & healthier living environment for their children, to invest in our national economy, and to be involved in their communities. Raising the minimum wage could cut the number of Americans living in poverty, jumpstart consumer spending & create jobs.
Source: 2017 Press Release from Senate office booker.senate.gov , Apr 1, 2017

Supports unions, except maybe teacher unions

BROKEN PROMISE: : Booker studiously said nothing about his relations with unions during his mayoral campaign and Senate campaign. His job-based accomplishments and campaign statements SOUND vaguely pro-union--or they sound vaguely anti-union, depending on what each voter preferred. That sort of intentional vagueness "muddies the water" and counts as an "broken promise by obfuscation."

ANALYSIS: Booker's actual actions make it clear WHY he was vague: he is generally in favor of union organizing, but has a long antagonistic record with teachers' unions due to his pro-charter school stance. By avoiding union issues, the teachers' union would not have the opportunity to denounce Booker. Booker took plenty of heat for his pro-charter stance--but he was honest about that! He would have taken even more heat if he publicly made the connection--like many Democrats and liberals do - between a pro-charter stance and an anti-union stance.

Source: Cory Booker 'Promises Broken,' by Jesse Gordon, p. 70 , Apr 1, 2017

$1,000 tax credit for job-training apprenticeships

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), the two African-American members of the US Senate, are bridging significant political differences and teaming up on legislation for the first time.

Booker and Scott are unveiling a proposal that would promote apprenticeships in highly-skilled trades, a move designed to help fill millions of technical jobs in the construction, manufacturing energy and telecommunications industries, while also creating jobs for younger Americans, especially minorities struggling to find work.

Booker and Scott's LEAP Act (Leveraging and Energizing America's Apprenticeship Programs) would provide tax credits to employers who offer apprenticeships to younger job applicants. Companies that offer apprenticeships to people under age 25 would receive a $1,500 tax credit and a $1,000 credit for apprentices above age 25. Apprenticeships, unlike office internships, offer a combination of on-the-job training and instruction in highly-skilled occupations.

Source: Washington Post on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Apr 9, 2014

Great Recession decreased hourly wages overall

Too many New Jerseyans are still hurting. While the economy has started to come back from the worst economic downturn in generations, New Jersey was the last state in the country to join the jobs recovery, and we continue to lag behind. Even among those who are employed, too many are finding that jobs aren't paying like they used to. Paychecks are getting smaller and bills are piling up.

Occupations in fields such as construction and manufacturing, with median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13--the middle third of the pay scale--accounted for 60 percent of job losses during the worst part of the recession. As the recovery progressed, however, those jobs didn't come back. Instead, it was lower-wage occupations--those with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83--that accounted for 58 percent of all job growth.

Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

Gender wage gap problematic; minority wage gap worse

America has come a long way in the struggle for equal rights but we are still far short of realizing the promise of our ideals. For every dollar a New Jersey man earns, on average, a woman earns only 79 cents for equal work. That reflects some improvement from the 59 cents women in made 50 years ago, but the wage gap today is even more problematic because the number of female breadwinners has quadrupled. To add to this injustice, nationally, African American and Latina women earn only 64 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar their male counterparts earn.

Our work will not be done until we live in a nation where equal work means equal pay. And that's why, as your Senator, I will work to make the long overdue promises advanced by the 2009 enactment of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act a reality by supporting further efforts to close the income gap between men and women, including the Paycheck Fairness Act and raising the federal minimum wage.

Source: 2013-2014 New Jersey Senate campaign web CoryBooker.com , Nov 3, 2013

1/3 of all NJ development is in Newark, where only 3% live

Q: As the Mayor of Newark: Unemployment there is over 13%. Why have you not been able to make more progress in this particular area?

BOOKER: Well, politics is a zero-sum game. The spirit of Martin Luther King taught me that love multiplies and hate divides. We've got too much division going on in our politics. Where people come together, you make remarkable results. Well, Chris Christie and I disagree on most things. But if we just sat back in our relative partisan positions, we wouldn't have gotten anything together. The fact that we've come together right now has created the largest economic development period in Newark in over a generation. In fact, we are 3% of the state's population with a third of all the development in New Jersey is going on in Newark, in commercial multi-families. Our biggest boom, period, because we found ways to get together.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 on 2014 New Jersey Senate race , Aug 25, 2013

2002 campaign: unemployment & housing hasn't improved

Until 2002, Newark Mayor Sharpe James appeared to be an invincible political figure. Since first winning elective office in 1970, he had never lost an election. Something changed in 2002.

Cory Booker was not the typical, weak, opponent. Challenging a 16-year incumbent may strike some as a quixotic enterprise, but a number of factors suggest that Booker's run in 2002 could be classified as strategic. Booker maintained that conditions in the city (i.e., high unemployment, low home ownership, and low high school graduation rates) had not improved since James had taken office. Moreover, James' administration had been implicated in corruption scandals.

Sharpe James responded to Cory Booker's candidacy by making the election a contest of racial authenticity. Because James realized that he was losing among whites and Latinos, he knew he had to consolidate the black vote, calling James the "real deal." [Booker lost 53%-46%]

Source: The New Black Politician, by Andra Gillespie, p. 63-4 , May 7, 2012

Passed laws on prevailing wage & large-scale firings

Our Administration has taken numerous steps [on labor issues]: from being the first city in New Jersey to adopt a prevailing wage law to the first city to pass legislation to prevent large scale firing of workers when new contracts are awarded.
Source: 2008 State of the City Address , Feb 1, 2008

Held over 100 Job Fairs to employ local residents

Source: 2002 Newark NJ Mayoral campaign website CoryBooker.com , Feb 7, 2002

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

Booker 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.

Booker 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

Other candidates on Jobs: Cory Booker on other issues:
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Barbara Buono
Chris Christie
Doug Steinhardt
Hirsh Singh
Jack Ciattarelli
Joe Rullo
John Wisniewski
Kim Guadagno
Phil Murphy
Seth Kaper-Dale
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Hirsh Singh
Jeff Chiesa
Murray Sabrin
Rich Pezzullo
Rik Mehta
Robert Menendez
Stuart Meissner

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