As Kamala travels across the country, she is talking to families about their top-of-mind concerns. Those 3 AM worries keeping people up at night. For the vast majority of us, these are shared concerns: how to find a good-paying job; how to afford needed health care; and how to make sure their children get a quality education.  

We can do this by creating more and better jobs for the economy we have today while we also actively prepare for the economy we will have tomorrow. And one of the most important ways to build a strong economy is to have a strong labor movement where every worker can join a union. As president, Kamala will return power to workers, hold corporations accountable, and continue to support workers as our economy evolves.  


EMPOWERING WORKERS

Policies that increase worker power have played a central role in building our middle class and providing economic security to millions of Americans.  Reforms that the labor movement drove brought us a five-day workweek, sick leave, and other basic worker protections. Because unions built the middle class, it’s no coincidence that, as the labor movement has been undermined, the economic security enjoyed by tens of millions is also under extreme duress.  Strengthening the labor movement is the first and most essential step in this work so that we don’t leave any worker or family to fight alone. Kamala will work every day to restore power to workers and join them in the fight to undo this damage and lift up the middle class. 

Kamala has been a champion of labor her entire career, and labor has stood with her all along the way. She has been honored to have support from labor in every one of her races, going back to when she was San Francisco’s District Attorney. When she was running for Attorney General, labor had her back when out-of-state dark money groups directed by Karl Rove poured money into the race to try to defeat her. She knows first-hand what it’s like to be under attack by right-wing groups. And that’s why she is committed to standing side-by-side with the labor movement. 

As District Attorney of San Francisco, Kamala prosecuted companies that stole worker wages and put worker safety at risk. As Attorney General, her office intervened in the Friedrichs case and supported the position of California’s public employee unions. Kamala also stood on the frontlines with labor just a couple years later when conservative groups pushed the same tactics in the harmful Janus case. Workers’ rights remain under attack across the country, but Kamala knows if we work together, we can fight back and give power back to working people.  

  • Joining a union should be a right.  As president, Kamala will fight to pass measures that will make sure every worker is able to join a union and bargain for better wages, benefits, and conditions at their workplaces. 
    • Ban “right to work” laws and strengthen union protections for private-sector employees.  Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which bans so-called “right-to-work” laws, strengthens workers’ rights to collectively bargain for better working conditions, and penalizes corporations that violate these rights.
      • If a majority of workers elect to unionize, she wants that decision to be recognized by the National Labor Relations Board. 
        • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Workplace Democracy Act to codify the “card check” system for union elections.
      • She will fight for policies that ensure companies cannot permanently replace workers who lawfully go on strike. 
      • And she will fight to update the National Labor Relations Act to provide explicit authority for state and local labor peace agreements.   
    • Allow public-sector employees to join a union. Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act to ensure that public sector employees are able to exercise their rights to collectively bargain. 
      • The bill would require states to give public sector employees the right to join a union, and establish a national baseline for public sector collective bargaining rights that the federal government is empowered to enforce. 
      • This bill is an important part of our efforts to fight back against the destructive Janus decision and as president, Kamala will fight to pass it into law. 
    • Allow workers in the gig economy to join a union.  Kamala believes it is essential that gig-economy workers can join a union, but they are unable to when classified as independent contractors.
      • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, which makes a number of reforms to support collective bargaining, including codifying the so-called three-part “ABC” test used to determine whether a corporation can classify a worker as an independent contractor.  The ABC test requires that independent contractors engage in work that is outside of the company’s main business, which would significantly limit the classification of gig-economy workers as independent contractors. 
      • She also supports state legislation in California, Assembly Bill 5, which would also codify the “ABC” test into state law and extend worker benefits and protections to gig-economy workers by curtailing the classification of gig-economy workers as independent contractors.
  • We will advance sectoral bargaining in industries where it will enhance worker power. 
    • Pass the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.  For some sectors, like domestic work, worksite-level bargaining is impractical or ineffective. That’s why Kamala wrote the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which takes a sectoral approach to labor law reform, including calling for a federal wage and standards board to investigate and make recommendations on worker health, safety, and pay in the industry. 
      • As president, she will explore ways to expand this model to other sectors.
  • We have learned from workers that, in addition to enhancing bargaining power in companies and across industries, we need to establish baseline benefits and protections for all workers whether they are in a union or not. 
    • This work begins with finally increasing the minimum wage to $15. Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, index it to median wage growth, and phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers and workers with disabilities.
      • Kamala recently joined McDonald’s workers on the picket lines in Nevada to show solidarity with their fight for better wages. 
      • As president, she will make the fight to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 a top priority.
    • Guarantee worker overtime protections. 
      • Kamala is a cosponsor of the Restoring Overtime Pay Act that would codify the Obama-era overtime rule and provide better overtime protections for millions of additional workers. 
      • As president, she will both fight for these overtime protections as well as ensure that workers like domestic workers and farmworkers are covered by the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 
    • Guarantee meaningful family leave. 
      • She will fight for a comprehensive national family leave plan to give workers up to 6 months of paid leave.
    • Guarantee fair scheduling practices.
      • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Schedules That Work Act, which will ensure employers adhere to fair scheduling practices by empowering workers with the right to request more flexible or predictable schedules.
      • As president, she will fight to make these protections law and finally end the uncertainty, lost pay and lack of control that as many as one in six workers experience. 
    • Create more competitive, integrated workplaces for people with disabilities.
      • Kamala believes in an America that is fully accessible and inclusive for everyone and her administration will fight to make this a reality across all parts of our society.
      • As president, she will pass the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which will establish a grant program for states to help redesign business models and strategies to increase employment of people with disabilities in competitive integrated employment.
      • Kamala will also strengthen the vocational rehabilitation system at the Department of Education, which gives grants to states to help people with disabilities prepare for, secure, and retain employment.
    • Ensure pregnant workers receive reasonable workplace accommodations.
      • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act, which will require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.
      • As president, she will fight for this legislation because far too often women who need accommodations related to their pregnancy or childbirth are forced out of their jobs.
    • Curtail workplace harassment and discrimination. 
      • Kamala introduced the EMPOWER Act and is a co-sponsor of the BE HEARD Act to address workplace discrimination and empower workers to speak up and seek justice if they have been harassed in the workplace, including by prohibiting non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses that employers often require workers to sign as a hiring condition. 
      • As president, she will fight to pass both laws to end the culture of fear created by workplace harassers.
    • Protect health care and social service workers from workplace violence.
      • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers, which helps protect health care and social service workers from workplace violence by mandating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration develop rulemaking on health care workplace violence.
      • As president, she will direct OSHA to require health care and social service employers have a workplace violence prevention plan to protect their employees from violent incidents.
    • Support domestic workers. Domestic workers are one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. These workers provide essential care and support to aging parents, people with disabilities, children, and homes. We need to retain our current caregiver workforce and create incentives for more individuals to join the field by bringing dignity and economic security to domestic work.
      • As president, Kamala will fight to pass her Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, which will strengthen protections and increase wages for the more than 2 million home care workers, house cleaners, and nannies. 
        • The Act provides for overtime pay, sick days, meal and rest breaks, protection from discrimination and harassment, fair scheduling requirements, and safety standards. 
        • It also calls for a wage and standards board to investigate and make recommendations on worker health, safety, and pay in the industry. 
    • Set federal worker-protection floors, not ceilings.  In the context of our rapidly changing economy, states and localities should be able to provide additional pro-worker protections. 
      • As president, Kamala will ensure that federal labor legislation and regulations set floors not ceilings for improved worker conditions. 

HOLDING CORPORATIONS ACCOUNTABLE

As president, Kamala will reform our federal tax system, which has skewed toward cutting taxes mostly to benefit the wealthy and big corporations, rather than helping create an economy that works for everyone.  Additionally, Kamala will create new protections to protect workers and hold corporations accountable. 

Kamala has a long history of fighting to protect vulnerable people who were being preyed upon by the powerful and big corporations – bad actors who too frequently expected there would be no consequence for their predatory acts. For example, as California’s Attorney General, Kamala secured $20 billion for California homeowners from the big banks for abusing the mortgage system and fueling the national foreclosure crisis.  And she won a $1.1 billion judgment against the for-profit (and now defunct) Corinthian Colleges for their predatory and unlawful practices to defraud students. She will bring that same tenacity to the presidency to hold corporations accountable to workers.

  • Reform the tax code.
    • Strengthen corporate taxation.  As president, Kamala will fight for proposals that strengthen corporate taxation to ensure big corporations do not escape without paying taxes, raise corporate tax rates, and close counter-productive and illogical loopholes used by corporations to avoid taxes.
    • Pass the LIFT Act.  One of Kamala’s first priorities as president will be to give working- and middle-class families an overdue income boost.  
      • Under Kamala’s plan, the LIFT ACT, she’ll reverse President Trump’s trillion-dollar tax cut for big corporations and the top 1% and use that money to give a tax credit of up to $6,000 to working families each year.  That money would allow families to cover an unexpected expense. It would mean food on the table, making rent, or paying for costly prescription drugs or childcare.  
  • Reinstate the Obama-era “joint-employer” standard. The joint-employer standard prevents employers who actually have control over workers from hiding behind loopholes to stop workers from organizing or engaging in collective bargaining.  As president, Kamala will prioritize reinstating this standard. 
  • Mandate equal pay.  Everyone deserves equal pay for equal work. 
    • Fine corporations for pay discrimination.  
      • As president, Kamala will require corporations to show they are not engaging in pay discrimination against women, and she will fine companies that fail to close their pay gaps.
    • Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. 
      • As president, Kamala would work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to strengthen the ability of employees to fight for equal pay, including by prohibiting employers from asking about salary histories and taking punitive actions against employees who discuss pay with their colleagues. 

SUPPORT ALL WORKERS AS THE ECONOMY CHANGES

Even as we rebalance the existing power dynamic between workers and corporations, we have to acknowledge that our economy will continue to rapidly change.  

First, the proliferation of artificial intelligence and continued globalization of the economy will continue to impact and likely stress our workforce. Some research indicates that, in the near-term, artificial intelligence (AI) will be disruptive to the American workforce, potentially affecting millions of jobs.  This may require millions of Americans to navigate career transitions involving new tasks and skills, if not new jobs entirely. Research also indicates that AI will disproportionately affect low- and middle-skill workers, manufacturing and administrative positions, and minority groups. At the same time, globalization forces will continue to exert competitive pressure on American businesses that can, absent strong domestic and trade rules, lead to job losses and downward pressure on labor protections and benefits.  

Second, we actively seek to make big changes to our economy and society through major national investments in transitioning to a clean economy, dramatically improving health care access and quality, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.  These stabilizing investments in our people and systems will produce new jobs and industries that will demand millions of trained workers.          

In many ways, California is seeing many of these dynamics play out today.  From convening the leaders of the biggest technology platforms in order to address serious concerns about the use of their tools to fighting for California’s strong climate laws, Kamala has the experience to protect and support workers in a rapidly-changing economy.     

First, we must prepare our workforce for changes to our economy driven by AI and global market forces.  

    • Re-invest in education and workforce training.  We have to fundamentally change how we invest in our education system to prepare Americans to compete in a workforce reshaped by AI and global economic forces.
  • Invest in teachers. The biggest problem we face is that teachers are undervalued and overlooked. This leads to high turnover, teacher shortages, and bright young people not entering the profession. Our children and the economy pay the price.
  • As president, Kamala will make the most significant investment in teacher pay in American history and close the teacher pay gap with comparable professionals, giving teachers a raise of on average $13,500.  
  • Kamala’s plan makes an additional targeted investment, beyond just closing the gap, to pay teachers in America’s highest-need schools more than other comparable professionals in their state.  
  • In allocating the investment, Kamala’s administration will take into account the extent to which these schools face high rates of funding inequality.
    • Make higher education more affordable and valuable. The value of higher education is skyrocketing.  The annual real earnings gap between a college-educated worker and a high school-educated worker has nearly doubled since the 1980s.  
      • The Obama administration estimated in 2016 that the median lifetime earnings value of an associate’s degree is nearly $200k, the value of a bachelor’s degree is about $500k, and the value of a graduate degree is about $800k.
      • As president, Kamala will also expand the opportunity to receive a quality higher education by fighting to make community college free, make four-year public college debt-free, and provide an income boost to nearly 1 in 7 Pell Grant recipients through her tax reform proposals.  
        • Current debt holders will be allowed to refinance high-interest loans to lower rates, and Kamala will fight to simplify and expand income-driven repayment to ensure no student pays more than he or she can afford.  
      • Kamala’s Department of Education and Justice Department will also crackdown on for-profit colleges and lenders that defraud students.
    • Invest in lifetime learning. Mid-career workers deserve an opportunity to proactively invest in themselves, seeking better opportunities or preparing for the consequences of automation.
      • As president, Kamala will fight for her 21st Century SKILLS Act to help provide workers with up to $8,000 to access skills training and other educational opportunities (for example, professional certificates and union apprenticeships), as well as pay costs associated with pursuing that opportunity, such as childcare and transportation costs. 
  • Mitigate the negative labor consequences of automation.
    • Provide strong labor protections to contingent workers.  Contingent positions, which involve inconsistent work with independent contractor or part-time employment status, are increasingly common.  There has been especially rapid AI-enabled growth in “gig-economy” positions.  
      • As noted above, contingent positions do not currently provide the traditional protections associated with full-time employment, such as medical and retirement benefits or unionization.
      • As president, Kamala would work to ensure that workers who transition to contingent roles receive many of the same labor protections as traditional employees, such as the right to unionize, minimum wage, overtime, worker safety regulations, and benefits.
  • Reform our trade policies.
    • Enact trade policy that supports American workers. Trade agreements must create jobs in America, raise wages, protect the environment, and strengthen the middle class.
      • For example, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) does not contain robust and enforceable provisions to uphold those objectives, and Kamala does not support it in its current form.
    • Labor will have a seat at the negotiating table.  As president, Kamala will ensure labor always has a seat at the negotiating table to ensure that trade agreements achieve these objectives.
  • Repair our broken immigration system.  Repairing our broken immigration system is key to growing a strong economy because the capacity of the economy is increased – growing the GDP – when immigrants enter the workforce. 
    • Pass immigration reform.  As president, Kamala will fight to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million-plus people living in our communities. 
      • She will get more immigrants into the workforce by immediately reinstating DACA and implementing regulations to protect both DREAMers and their parents from deportation. 
      • And she will push reforms to visa programs, including visas for high-skilled and low-skilled workers, to streamline our immigrant labor force and stimulate entrepreneurship. 
  • Eliminate barriers to employment for people with criminal records.
    • Create access to student loans and professional licenses. Kamala will end federal bans on formerly-incarcerated individuals’ access to student loans and professional work licenses.
    • Enforce anti-discrimination laws.  Kamala will also prioritize the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules that prevent discrimination in employment based on a prior conviction.

Second, Kamala’s administration will make significant social investments to support working Americans and to grow America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. 

  • Transition to a clean economy.  In order to confront the worsening climate crisis that is impacting communities across America, we need to transition to a clean economy.  That transition will require the work of millions of our nation’s builders, steelworkers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, and communications workers. As we make this transition, we must ensure that the jobs we create are good-paying, family-sustaining ones that protect the right to organize. 
    • Require high labor standards for clean energy infrastructure projects.  Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act that drives the development of clean energy infrastructure and technology across the country, all while establishing and maintaining high-road labor standards. 
      • As president, Kamala will fight for this legislation to make sure union jobs are created across the clean energy industry.
    • Require high labor standards for clean energy infrastructure projects.  Kamala will also protect and empower communities that have worked in the fossil fuel industry for generations by ensuring they are at the decision-making table and receive the benefits they have worked for and deserve, like pensions, health care, and job transition assistance, including bridge wages. 
    • Require high labor standards for clean energy infrastructure projects.  We must also provide a path for workers near the end of their careers by providing retirement security. 
      • That is why Kamala will work with organizations like the BlueGreen Alliance to effectuate collaborative strategies that partner the labor and environmental communities like the Alliance’s Solidarity for Climate Action
  • Fix our healthcare system.  Health care is a fundamental human right, and Kamala’s Medicare for All plan will ensure comprehensive health care for every American. 
    • Increase worker wages.  Under Kamala’s plan, union workers will have the option to join Medicare and stop sacrificing wages for better health care. 
    • Private health care options preserved.  Unions may also opt to continue working with employers to offer a private Medicare plan option or supplemental benefits in addition to the Medicare plan. 
    • Create a 10-year transition plan.  Kamala’s plan also includes a 10-year transition plan to provide a path for employers and employees to transition to Medicare for All, and during that transition period Kamala’s administration will work extensively with labor to make sure that we are creating a health care system that will build on the benefits union members already have and strengthen them.
    • Labor has a seat at the table.  As president, labor will be a co-creator in setting up Kamala’s Medicare for All system to ensure that union members get comprehensive health care in a way that builds on the benefits they may already enjoy. 
    • Under Kamala’s Medicare for All plan, the healthcare industry will generate good-paying jobs across the country. 
      • Kamala will fight to increase dramatically union jobs in the health care sector and ensure that all healthcare workers have the right to exercise their collective bargaining rights.  
        • To accomplish this, Kamala will appoint a Secretary of Health and Humans Services and an Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services who will prioritize rule-making that supports this goal.
  • Rebuild our national infrastructure. We are long overdue for more public investment to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure. Doing so will help make our cities more sustainable and will create quality jobs. 
    • Kamala will fight for major public investment in infrastructure. 
      • Kamala is a co-sponsor of the Build Local, Hire Local Act which would ensure public infrastructure investments, allow for project labor agreements, protect Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, create a Buy America Bureau and encourage the use of employment plans that prioritize American manufacturer and service jobs. 
        • As president, Kamala will work to ensure each of those priorities is included in federal infrastructure funding proposals.
      • In addition to roads and bridges in serious need of repair, we have schools where students cannot drink the water because of lead pipes, and hospitals that struggle to deliver services to the communities that depend on them. 
        • As president, Kamala will fight to pass her Water Justice Act to invest an additional $250 billion to repair outdated water infrastructure across the country, particularly in disadvantaged communities. 

Kamala knows the importance of this fight. She knows from her mother who would stay up late at their kitchen table trying to figure out how she was going to make it all work. She knows from meeting with countless public school teachers across the country working to educate our future leaders. She knows from opportunities like getting to spend a day walking with Detroit Security Officer, Delores McDaniel, a non-union worker fighting for $15 an hour and Unions for All. 

As president, Kamala will fight for working Americans every day, and, together, we’ll rebuild economic security in America.