Dignity for Workers by Protecting and Growing Union Membership
The labor movement has won tremendous gains for Americans, from minimum wage laws and safe working conditions to healthcare guarantees, Social Security, pensions and more. For several decades, however, unions and workers have been under attack. The results of this right-wing assault are clear: more people in poverty, a massive gap between rich and poor, millions of people working multiple jobs just to survive.
At this moment in history, when progressive movements are winning hearts and minds with plans for “Medicare for All” and a “Green New Deal,” we must also put the fight for unions at the front of the agenda. We must ensure that every American who wants it has a good job and is treated with dignity. We must also protect the right to organize. We know that corporations have increasing power, as massive companies like Amazon and Walmart control millions of jobs. The only way to balance out this concentration of wealth is with worker power.
Mike Siegel has been a union activist and labor ally throughout his professional career. He was raised in a union family; his mom was a machinist and organizer with the International Association of Machinists, and his father is a labor lawyer for farmworkers, janitors, and healthcare workers. Mike earned his first union card in 1999, as a public school teacher and member of the National Education Association; he was elected as a site representative and national delegate. As a civil rights lawyer, Mike represented unions, and later joined AFSCME as an employee of the City of Austin. He has earned the endorsements of numerous unions as the Democratic nominee for Congress in 2018 and again as a candidate for 2020.
As your representative, Mike Siegel will fight to expand the union movement, and support the following demands:
- Immediately implement the PRO Act which will protect workers who are fired for engaging in union activity, require employers to treat unions in good faith, and generally protect the right to organize
- Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act and end “Right to Work” laws (which are really just “right to work for less”)
- End “at will” employment and require just cause for termination
- Make it easier to join a union by implementing “card check” and enforcing penalties against companies that refuse to negotiate in good faith
- Implement sectoral bargaining
- Protect the right to strike
- Expand public sector collective bargaining
- Protect pensions
- End exploitation caused by misclassification of workers as “independent contractors”
- Increase the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour, indexed to inflation or the cost of living
- Provide a federal jobs guarantee
- Equal Rights Act: equal pay for equal work
Medicare For All:
The debate about private vs. public insurance often revolves around the concept of “choice.”
Those who support private insurance say it allows workers to choose the insurance they like. The truth is, it allows workers to choose health insurance if their boss likes that insurance as well. Medicare for All eliminates this need for employers to agree with their employees about what healthcare is best – you can choose what doctor to see whether or not your employer agrees. Medicare for All also allows people to have not only more healthcare options but also more employment options; workers will not be forced to stay in jobs they don’t like just because that job offers them health insurance. Relying on employer based insurance means unions are forced to negotiate for better coverage instead of better working conditions, and we know that people using employer-based insurance already lose their health care constantly. Finally, employer-based insurance burdens businesses with intense administrative & financial costs. We’re going to put an end to it.