While most of the Democratic presidential candidates can agree that the minimum wage should be raised, there are several different proposals and ideas surrounded areas such as unions and corporate America. Here is where some of the front runners stand.
Former Vice President Biden supported Massachusetts Stop & Shop workers who were striking over low wages and poor benefits in June. He addressed the workers and the union at a rally, saying they were part of an initiative to “take back this country.
“This is wrong. This is morally wrong, what’s going on around this country,” Biden said. “And I have had enough of it. I’m sick of it, and so are you.”
Biden also gave his first campaign speech to an audience of union workers in April and said it’s “well past time that the minimum wage nationally be a minimum of $15.” According to his website,
Sanders has an extensive record of fighting against corporate America and recently added Walmart to his list of targets, claiming the company is paying its hourly workers “starvation wages.” He introduced a proposal at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting that called for the company to pay its employees at least $15 an hour (which is what he believes the US minimum wage should be) and allow hourly workers to be on the corporate board.
“Frankly, the American people are sick and tired of subsidizing some of the greed of some of the largest corporations in this country,” he said.
Sanders adds on his website that the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is not enough to “pay the bills and support a family,” and that raising the wage would reduce the amount of citizens relying on the government.
“According to the Economic PolicyInstitute, raising the minimum wage by just a few dollars would cause 1.7 million Americans to no longer rely on public assistance and ‘reduce government expenditures on current income-support programs by $7.6 billion per year,’” his website reads.
Warren also believes the minimum wage should be $15 an hour and co-sponsored legislation that would require it to be increased by 2024. She said that although the current minimum wage was enough to feed a family of three when she was growing up, that is no longer the case.
“Back when I was a kid, folks in far-off Washington asked the fundamental question: ‘What’s it going to take for a family of three to make it? That’s where we ought to put the minimum.’ Today, the folks in Washington ask, ‘What’s going to improve the profitability of a multinational corporation?’ And that’s what we’re here to change,’” she said during a campaign speech.
Harris joined her Senate Democrat colleagues who supported a minimum wage of $15 an hour in 2017, according to a press release on her website.
“The minimum wage must be a living wage, and the current rate of $7.25 makes it impossible to support a family,” she said. “Two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. That means we’ve got to change a system that forces a mom trying to keep a roof over the head and food on the table to hold down two jobs just to earn $15,000 a year. The ladder of economic opportunity is broken in this country, but this legislation will help fix it.”
Harris also teamed up with the National Domestic Workers Alliance to introduce the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which would give domestic workers (primarily made up of women of color and immigrants) basic labor rights such as protection against harassment and discrimination, guaranteed minimum wage, meal breaks and overtime pay.
O’Rourke supports the move to a US minimum wage to $15 an hour and believes that one job should be enough for workers to support themselves and their families. He also believes in collective bargaining and thinks unions should be able to collect dues from non-union members.
“Everyone needs to pay into the benefits that they gain as a result of those who are willing to organize and fight,” O’Rourke said at a Union Steel Workers 310 event in El Paso.
Booker, who also supports a federal minimum wage of $15, is focused on making sure everyone has a job with the Federal Jobs Guarantee Development Act. The bill would create a three-year pilot program in which 15 local areas would be offered funding to ensure every adult in the area is guaranteed a job paying at least $15 an hour.
“The federal jobs guarantee is an idea that demands to be taken seriously,” Booker said. “Creating an employment guarantee would give all Americans a shot at a day’s work and, by introducing competition into the labor market, raise wages and improve benefits for all workers.”
As mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for city employees in 2016. He believes the current federal minimum wage does not reflect the high cost of living.
“Wages have not kept up with the costs of healthcare, housing and education,” he said in a tweet. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 and rebuild union membership for an economy where all workers can thrive.”
Buttigieg advocates for the reformation of the National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act), which guarantees employees’ right to unionize.
“I will support a new Wagner Act to empower workers in existing unions, and others who have been historically excluded from collective bargaining, to advocate for better wages, hours, and working conditions,” he said. “I will also support strong measures to ensure that union elections can happen freely and fairly, because democracy should not stop at the workplace door.”
According to a tweet from Yang, he believes the government should “leave minimum wage to states” and implement a universal basic income, which he calls the Freedom Dividend.
“In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it,” his website reads. “To avoid an unprecedented crisis, we’re going to have to find a new solution, unlike anything we’ve done before. It all begins with the Freedom Dividend, a universal basic income for all American adults, no strings attached – a foundation on which a stable, prosperous, and just society can be built.”
His website describes the Freedom Dividend as a “type of social security that guarantees a certain amount of money to every citizen,” and he is proposing a set of guaranteed payments of $1,000 per month.
Minnesota Senator Klobuchar is a member of the Commerce and Joint Economic Committee and believes in “training the next generation of workers to compete in a global economy,” according to her website.
Klobuchar also believes in “giving people a fair shot” by “making it easier for American families to be able to afford a home, send their kids to college and pay the bills.”
“If we are going to build a stronger middle class, we need to make sure that Americans can work their way into it. I support increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour,” her website reads.
According to Senator Gillibrand’s website, creating jobs has been her “number one priority” as senator of New York.
“Senator Gillibrand believes the best way to create jobs is by increasing lending and cutting taxes for small businesses, making aggressive investments in infrastructure, and transitioning from foreign fossil fuels to an economy powered by clean, American energy,” her website reads.
Gillibrand also believes in raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in order to “life millions of families out of poverty,” as well as “encouraging more companies to become employee owned.”