Empowering American Workers

Empowering American Workers

The Current Reality

At the root of every American success story is a tenacious middle and working class who made it possible. And despite their irreplaceable position in the fabric of American history, laborers have been betrayed by their representatives for 40 years, from both sides of the partisan aisle. The strong, bustling middle class, which once defined this country and catalyzed its economic growth, is disappearing. 

The de-regulation, deindustrialization, and outsourcing of the 1970’s left workers vulnerable. Labor unions, already undermined by pervasive corruption, dwindled in power. When faced with this alarming economic transition, politicians were faced with two options: stand with working constituents, or sell out to big business. Unfortunately, they chose the latter. Washington prioritized the short-term maximization of corporate profits, enacting “Trickle-Down Economics” policies which de-regulated corporations and reduced their taxes, while simultaneously dismantling the hard-fought welfare state and safety net. This destructive intervention undid years of economic progress, and served as the catalyst for an unprecedented American wealth gap.

Real wages stagnated as corporate profits reached record levels. Markets were deregulated and privatization of industry expanded, empowering big business to scale back vital labor protections, like the defined-benefit pension plan. Labor unions grew even weaker due to corporate hostility, culminating in the gradual disappearance of the once renowned and secure American middle class. 

This brings us to today. 

Our Goals and How We Plan to Do It

  • Center our economy around human and social well being. 
  • Re-empower organized labor and strengthen worker benefits & protections.
  • Redefine corporate social responsibility. 
  • Promote and incentivize growth in the small business sector.
  • Properly value “social laborers” like parents, caretakers, health workers and teachers. 
  • End widespread data mining and curb surveillance capitalism.

Promote a Wellbeing Focused Economy:

  • Create stronger financial backstops for socially responsible yet underpaid roles, like parents, caretakers, health workers and teachers, via our platform.
    • Institute federal tax relief for unpaid care providers.
    • Pass a universal basic income to support unpaid care providers, and augment the wage of underpaid, majority-BIPOC care workers mistreated by our for-profit system.
  • Support the nomination and retention of Federal Reserve Board governors who will pursue full employment and wage growth.
  • Implement public banking with bills such as Rep. Tlaib’s Public Banking Act to secure investments in our communities and not in large corporations.
  • Enforce fair trade laws that help American workers and encourage trade with socially responsible, humane foreign partners, because our focus on building a human-centered economy should not stop at our borders. 
  • Look beyond GDP through legislation such as Rep. Omar’s GPI Act to focus our government’s attention on metrics such as externalities, childhood success rates, median income, standard of living, the happiness index, health-adjusted life expectancy, and absence of substance abuse.

Strengthen Labor Unions:

  • Co-govern with local workers’ unions in different industries to co-create legislation that puts them first. 
  • Reform labor regulation to enable and support industry-wide collective bargaining agreements, particularly for the service sector.
  • Expand formation and growth of unions through bills such as the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights to strengthen collective-bargaining and improve working conditions for all workers.
  • Promote education of labor unions in schools. 
  • Provide a financial and healthcare backstop for all workers and those unable to work, through an expansion of social programs. 
  • Update federal law to invalidate forced arbitration and make it easier for individuals’ ability to file class action lawsuits in federal court.
  • Expand NLRB’s federal funding and investigative capacity for anti-union violations.

Protect Workers

  • Mandate corporations to restore defined-benefit pension plans for long term workers. 
  • Support legislation that promotes protection and workers’ rights for gig workers like in Seattle, Philadelphia, and New York
  • Raise the federal minimum wage to a living wage based on cost-of-living in each geographic region. 
  • Strengthen OSHA laws and worker protection(s) health and safety measures to ensure undocumented/documented workers receive the proper safety training(s) and equipment to save lives and reduce long term health issues. 
  • Close gender pay gap and promote work-related protections for immigrants, women, and LGBTQIA+ communities
  • Implement national paid leaves — including vacation, family, and medical leaves to promote productivity and work-life balance.

Redefine Socially Responsible Corporations:

  • Enact campaign finance reforms to stop big corporate money from influencing politics to gain large subsidies and tax breaks, while leaving little for workers and families.
  • Implement a well-designed financial transactions tax on stocks, bonds, and other capital gains investments to support community needs like education, public housing, and more for families and communities. 
  • Impose sweeping federal taxes contingent upon externalities (i.e. environmental pollution), to increase corporation’s private costs associated with externalities.
  • Raise top marginal income tax rates for billionaires and highest earners to provide much-needed financial support for our social safety net programs and community needs. 
  • Explore legislation that changes current quarterly reporting practices to help mitigate short-term thinking in companies which harms workers. 
  • Re-evaluate the meaning of corporate fiduciary duty to apply it towards workers and the communities they’re in, as well as shareholders. 
  • Pass laws preventing the private sector from using taxpayer money for personal gains. 
  • Support actions that require large US corporations to publicly and completely disclose their greenhouse gas emissions to hold them accountable and help prevent greenwashing.
  • Draft federal legislation or a constitutional amendment making clear that corporations are not people and are not entitled to all of the constitutional rights guaranteed to individuals.
  • Explore mandating partial share ownership for long-term workers of corporations.

Small Business Growth:

  • Forgive student loans debt for aspiring small business owners to invest resources in their local communities instead of student loans.
  • Create an equity-based grant fund intended to support BIPOC-run small businesses.
  • Provide grant funding and tax relief for small-business worker co-ops.  
  • Extend protections and benefits to small businesses that hire full-time employees. 
  • Establish public options within essential industries (Life-Empowering Policies platform) such as energy and healthcare, to reduce the input supply costs that disadvantage small businesses.
  • Provide tech training such as free coding and finance bootcamps that allow small businesses to keep up with corporate competitors. 
  • Create a National Business Interruption Risk Insurance program to put in place a long-term structure to guarantee stability in future crises.
  • Increase federal funding for SBA grants to community organizations.

Fight for Responsible Data Use:

  • Criminalize unconsented AI usage and storage of an individual’s identity/information, including within creative entities.
  • Draft an Algorithmic Bill of Rights, similar to laws enacted in other parts of the world.
  • Propose an “Algorithmic opt-out” bill that would force companies to let their users remove themselves from algorithmic targeting and feedback loops. 
  • Ensure that AI research and development accounts for diversity and does not carry implicit, problematic biases
  • Push for data protection and sanctuaries for those seeking gender-affirming health care in different states.
  • End the use of public dollars currently used to automate the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. 
  • Push for research into establishing two-way linking and micropayments for personal data.
  • Create restrictions on the lengthy Terms of Service agreements that allow Big Tech to wield their influence to claim our data.

What This Will Do For Us

Bold action is our only viable method to shift power back into the hands of working Americans. It is time for us to reshape the nature of our economy, by expanding beyond simple fiduciary duty and profit maximization. We can channel the monumental wealth of the US economy to account for community and social needs, rather than just shareholder needs. We can ensure that all workers – regardless of their titles and backgrounds – have access to living wages and robust social safety nets, allowing them to take control of their lives and not live in fear of an unstable financial floor. For most Americans, the fear of facing financial ruin because of one emergency is almost palpable. I can attest to this, because I myself have worked multiple jobs simultaneously, desperate to stay afloat. By reshaping our economy to align with our humanity, we can allay these fears, and focus our talents and passions towards pursuing the goals which matter to us. This is the true life-empowering freedom that the US claims to offer, and It’s time we make it a reality.