Washington, DC – On the heels of Labor Day, Democratic Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) on Thursday issued the findings of their “Future of Work, Wages, and Labor” initiative – launched in early 2016. The Members spent over two years traveling across the country and meeting with experts, labor leaders, and workers to develop policy proposals that address longstanding problems in the workforce and new trends like automation and contract workers.
The comprehensive report goes beyond just identifying problems and provides solutions and options to confront the obstacles today’s workers face while preparing for the economy of the future.
“Today’s culture of unchecked corporate power and maximizing profits has come at the expense of America’s workforce. Worker pay is stagnant and inequality is peaking, all while CEO pay rates shoot through the roof, wealthy executives are rewarded with stock buybacks, and corporations are turning profits like never before. The American worker needs help and they need help now,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “I appreciate my colleagues joining with me in this effort to advance worker-centric policies and ultimately make the economy work for everyone, not just those at the top.”
“Over the last several years, my colleagues and I have traveled across the country, meeting with hundreds of workers to discuss the ways in which we can address the most critical issues facing workers. The results of our conversations were clear: corporate power has reached historic levels, as has economic inequality and the weakening of workers’ rights. These outcomes are not merely coincidental and they demonstrate a serious need to repair our economic system and ensure that America’s working families are not left behind,” said Congressman Pocan. “Today’s report provides a path forward that will restore real power to employees, rein in the unchecked power that corporations use to suppress workers and wages, and grow and strengthen the American middle class. With these recommendations, we can create real change and restore the American promise that a job can provide economic security, an opportunity to get ahead, a brighter future for you and your family.”
“To make our economy work for all of us, not just the rich and powerful, working people must be able stand and fight together for higher wages, better health care and a more secure retirement. I know how important it is for workers to have a voice in the workplace because I lived it. I sat at the negotiating table fighting for working families for decades, and I know we need to take smart, bold actions to help lift up America’s workers,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01), a lifelong labor leader and an electrician by trade. “I was proud to host my colleagues in South Jersey to show them the economic revitalization in the City of Camden firsthand and assemble a labor leaders’ roundtable with the top advocates for New Jersey’s workers. After travelling from coast-to-coast listening to workers, academic experts and community leaders in each other’s districts, we’ve put together a package of solutions that will provide a bright future for working families – a future with higher wages, more job training programs and equal opportunities for all.”
“Our labor policies must keep up with the rapid changes the 21st Century has brought,” said Dingell. “We travelled the country hearing directly from workers. They told us the decline in collective bargaining, worker representation and the ability to form unions doesn’t just hurt workers, it hurts our communities and our economy. Strong and updated labor laws are a necessity to fight income inequality, make the American dream accessible to anyone willing to work hard, and codify workers’ rights for the future – this is what the report is all about.”
“The average American worker has not received a real raise in three decades. This is not an accident; it is the product of policy choices made across all three branches of government. We must do more to level the playing field,” said Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03). “I commend my colleagues for their hard work in developing this report and welcome their proposals as part of Democrats’ legislative agenda for the 116th Congress.”
“This moment of historic collective action calls for a different approach, one where technology leads to better pay and working conditions for everyone and even greater prosperity for us to share in,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “At the AFL-CIO, we are nearly a year into our own comprehensive process focused on shaping the future of work so it works for working people.”
During the effort, the Members traveled more than 4,700 miles and held 9 public meetings. They hosted town halls with over 250 local workers, consulted over 100 experts and academics, and ultimately developed over 30 policy recommendations.
A full copy of the Future of Work, Wages, and Labor report can be found here.
For more information on the events hosted, experts consulted, and more click here.