While the ACLC does not endorse candidates, we do poll them to learn where they stand on issues that are important to our members. In May we began sending out questions regarding the Living Wage and access to health care to candidates at the local and state level. Below are the responses that we’ve received thus far. Needless to say, this election cycle will be an extremely important one for our community, our state, and our nation. We strongly encourage Labor Coalition members to familiarize themselves with the various candidates for office and to get involved in their campaigns.
Tom Wells is the only candidate for federal office who has replied to our Candidate Questionnaire:
1. Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage? If so,what wage do you think this should be?
I agree with Bernie Sanders that the minimum wage should be increased to $15. I argue that it should in fact be higher (e.g. consonant with productivity increases referenced to the 1960’s), that it should be increased post haste – not over a span of years, that it should apply to all workers (domestics, tipped wait staff, farm workers), and – once escalation to a just wage is accomplished – that it be indexed to CPI. My father taught me that honest labor, in any capacity, deserved respect. A living wage is the minimal measure of respect. To those now making $15, or any wage in excess of the present minimum; be not dismayed. You have earned that. And your wage justly should be increased in proportion. If you were making 2 times the minimum, you should continue to do so – but this will never be a matter of law. You have 2 choices: You can ask your boss – it might happen. You can organize & negotiate with your boss. That’s called a union. We are all members of a magnificent union: the United States. We decide collectively what min wage honors the social contract – a process that has been abrogated as moneyed interests have for 35+ years corrupted Congress.
2. Do you support bringing the United States in line with nearly all of the rest of the industrialized world by replacing the Affordable Care Act with a publicly financed national health program, also known as “Medicare for All”? Would you support legislation that would make health care affordable and accessible to all by joining the 62 other representatives that have signed on as co-sponsors to H.R. 676?
I have long espoused universal health care – health care as a human right; as has Bernie Sanders; as did the Democratic Party prior to the Clintons & I support any rational move in that direction. Specifically I will support H.R. 676 until/unless I am convinced that a better option has been crafted.
It is my expectation that these 2 matters will yield dramatic bottom-up expansion of the economy, dramatically reduce poverty – and the welfare budget, and bring U.S. health care outcomes into line with the results of countries where these are givens.