Jobs and the economy

We must rebuild an American economy that rewards work rather than wealth. Middle class jobs are moving overseas and new jobs don’t support families. “Full employment” used to mean everyone had a job – now it means many of us have two. 

 

Organized Labor

Organized labor and the rights of workers have been under attack since before many of us were born. Yet, Montana was built by unions. Miners in Butte organized for their rights and won. We must look back to their organizing principles and allow Americans to organize for their common benefit. But we need to go further than just rolling back forty years of assaults on the rights of working people to organize.

 

We need a Congress that works with labor to find innovative ways to strengthen our collective power. I've heard over and over again that labor is tired of supporting Democrats who say they back labor but then fail to carry legislation or support it once they are in office. The truth is that politicians of all stripes have failed the movement. I won’t. We must:

 

  • Pass the PRO-Act

  • Foster sector-level bargaining to increase wages

  • Reform the NLRA to ensure it fights for working people

  • Strengthen apprenticeship programs and vocational schools so that the next generation of tradeswomen and men can join the middle class

  • End this administration's destructive IRAP policies

  • Protect pensions and ensure their solvency

  • Build a trade policy for the benefit of workers, not multinational corporations

 

Working Families

All Americans deserve a wage that allows them to live in dignity. Only comprehensive legislation strengthening the rights of wage-earners will allow all of us to provide for ourselves and our families. We must support working families again and we must support people who earn their money rather than invest it again, through implementing:

 

  • Paid parental/family leave

  • Explicit minimum paid sick days

  • Protections from wage theft

  • Access to affordable daycare

  • Stronger protections against sexual harassment

 

As a legislator, I have championed workers’ rights by bringing bills to ensure the minimum wage applies to apprentices, worked to strengthen workers’ rights against multinational corporations, and proposed innovative legislation to allow for more retirement savings for non-union workers.  All workers deserve protections and dignity. I will continue this fight in DC.

 

Equal Pay

Equal work deserves equal pay. Women are still paid 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. It is worse for our Native American sisters: they make 58 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Working women are often the breadwinners for their families. I support updating the Equal Pay Act by:

 

  • Broadening the definition of comparable work to allow for true comparisons

  • Banning pay history inquiries to stop perpetuating historic pay discrimination

  • Mandate pay transparency

 

Childcare

Every day, families across Montana wake up to our ongoing childcare crisis. Politicians always claim to support families, but when it comes right down to it working families are left in the lurch.  Yet, research shows that for every $1 invested in early childcare our society reaps $11 in savings. We need to truly invest in our working families through comprehensive childcare modeled on our military’s highly effective universal childcare program. 

 

Housing

Montana’s cities rank as some of the most unaffordable in the nation. The rest of the country thinks this is only a problem in cities like Seattle and San Francisco. But ask anyone working a 9-to-5 in Bozeman or Missoula if they have a realistic chance of owning a home.

 

I support legislation addressing the rising cost of homeownership. This includes:

  • Easing restrictions on new construction in designated corridors

  • Supporting new homeowners and renters through innovative financing

  • Supporting policies that lead to higher wages.

 

Investments for our Changing Economy

Our policies cannot forget the towns and cities left behind by this economy. Towns like Butte and Great Falls need targeted investments to ensure they offer opportunity to their citizens. I will support legislation that invests federal dollars in communities hit hard by leveraged buyouts of the past, by globalization, and by our changing resource economy - Colstrip included. We have a moral duty to Montanans who built our state, lighted our homes, and powered our economy. The people of Colstrip deserve a strong voice in Congress that will fight for a just transition, along with federal protections that provide for changing opportunities as their town and industry change. They do not deserve to be treated like a political football by their elected leaders.

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