Q3: Do you support enacting federal legislation that ensures equal pay for equal work for women, including the collection of pay data and enforcement means when the law is violated?
Biden: Yes. It is unacceptable that there are employers paying women less than men for the same work. As president, I will finish the Obama-Biden Administration’s work on ending unequal pay. The very first bill the Obama-Biden Administration signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to fight back if they were unfairly paid less than their male coworkers. We also protected more workers against retaliation for discussing wages and required employers to collect and report wage gaps to the federal government. As president, I will build on this critical work by signing into law the Paycheck Fairness Act.
And, recognizing that women make up the majority of minimum-wage workers, I’ll stop the exploitation of low-wage workers. I’ll increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, support the elimination of the tipped minimum wage, and dismantle the barriers to higher-paying jobs for these workers.
I believe the United States should be leading on pay equity disclosures and enforcing penalties for unequal pay. Improving transparency is one essential step to ending the pay gap between men and women. The Obama-Biden Administration expanded requirements for employers to report pay information to improve the federal government’s ability to take enforcement action against employers who are discriminating and change the culture around pay transparency.
As president, I’ll make it easier for workers to join together in class action lawsuits, shift the burden to employers to prove pay gaps exist for job-related reasons, and increase penalties against companies that discriminate, as called for in the Paycheck Fairness Act. And I’ll hold companies accountable by increasing funding for investigators and enforcement actions.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike believes the time is long past due for all Americans to receive equal pay for equal work. As president, Mike will ensure women at all levels of the workforce are given equal pay for equal work. Mike supports the SEC rule requiring public companies to publish information on gender and racial pay disparities and he will reverse the current Equal Employment Opportunity Council policy to not publish the industry-aggregated wage data broken down by race and gender that it collects. He will also sign the Paycheck Fairness Act. Mike also supports policies that prohibit employers from asking for wage history from job applicants and from retaliating against employees who share wage and salary information with each other.
Buttigieg: Yes. The public should know which companies are doing right by their female employees with fair pay, promotions, and family- friendly work arrangements, and which ones have glass ceilings. This is especially important for Black women, and other women of color, who often experience disparities in pay and opportunities even when compared to white women. I will propose legislation to immediately make public the total pay gap at every large company: for every dollar that the company pays to male employees as a whole, how much does it pay to female employees? How much do white women earn? Black women? Latina women? Native women? AAPI women? Unlike other data reporting proposals, the total pay gap does not require the government to collect any new information, can be released immediately, and is hard to game.
De La Fuente: Yes. Men and women in the same job deserve the same pay. It is very simple. I completely support enacting federal legislation that ensures equal pay for equal work for women, including the collection of pay data and enforcement means when the law is violated. For far too long women have gotten the short end of the stick – they are among the best and brightest individuals in the world. America can no longer cling to antiquated discriminatory attitudes and policies of the past that have no relevance for the future.
Klobuchar: Yes. During her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will work to close the pay gap for women and women of color. Senator Klobuchar is also a co-sponsor of Senator Patty Murray’s Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that employers pay employees equally for equal work — including by prohibiting employers from asking about the salary history of prospective employees — and she will get this important legislation passed as President.
Sanders: Yes. Bernie believes that true freedom also includes guaranteeing every worker pay equity for the same work, regardless of your gender, race, or immigration status. When Bernie is President, we will guarantee equal pay for equal work. He will sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law, which will end gender-based pay discrepancies. As part of his Corporate Accountability and Democracy plan, Bernie will require all large corporations to complete an annual report that details the compensation, gender, and racial composition of its board and employees.
Steyer: Yes. There has to be a clear law that says equal pay for equal work. We need to make sure that there is as much open information between employees, so that you can’t hide the fact of a pay gap within a corporation. We have to make sure that corporations don’t negotiate salaries based on previous salaries, because that’s another place where discrimination continues.
Warren: Yes. I believe in equal pay for equal work. That is why I supported the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier to challenge pay discrimination and hold employers responsible for discriminatory practices. I’ve also proposed a new set of executive actions that I will take on day one as president to boost wages for women of color and open up new pathways to the leadership positions they deserve. I will build on existing disclosure requirements by requiring every federal contractor to disclose data on employees’ pay and role, broken out by race, gender, and age and direct agencies not to enter into contracts with companies with poor track records on diversity in management and equal pay for equal work. Additionally, I will strengthen and target enforcement against systemic discrimination by ensuring the EEOC closely monitor and enforce regulations in sectors that disproportionately employ Black and Brown women and have higher rates of discriminatory practices. My EEOC will also issue first-of-its-kind guidance on enforcing claims involving the intersectional discrimination that women of color face from the interlocking biases of racism and sexism.
Q4: Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to at least $15/hour?
Biden: Yes. As vice president, I helped get state and local laws increasing the minimum wage across the finish line – including in New York State – and have supported eliminating the tipped minimum wage. I firmly believe all Americans are owed a raise, and it’s well past time we increase the federal minimum wage to $15 across the country. This increase will include workers who aren’t currently earning the minimum wage, like the farmworkers who grow our food and domestic workers who care for our aging and sick and for those with disabilities. As president, I will also support indexing the minimum wage to the median hourly wage so that low-wage workers’ wages keep up with those of middle income workers.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and increasing it automatically in future years by linking it to growth in earnings.
Buttigieg: Yes. For too long, the typical worker’s wages have not kept up with expenses like health care, housing, and education. I want to make sure that workers who give their all to an employer are paid fairly in return. This increase is particularly important for Black and Brown women who disproportionately work in minimum wage industries such as retail, fast food, hospitality, and child care. By raising the minimum wage to $15 and beyond, we can start taking steps to make sure that the economy is working for all workers.
De La Fuente: Yes, and I would suggest considering tiered rates as has proven successful in other countries along with contracting with Labor and Industry five years in advance.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar is a strong supporter of raising the federal minimum wage to $15. She believes that it’s time for the country to have a minimum wage that reflects our values.
Sanders: Yes. As President, Bernie will sign into law the Raise the Wage Act he introduced in the Senate to ensure minimum wage workers, who are disproportionately adults and women of color, earn a living wage of at least $15 an hour. Bernie is very proud to have been the first Senator to both stand with the Fight for 15 and the union movement and introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Four years ago, when he said that we needed to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, it was considered an impossible dream that would never, ever happen. Today, thanks to a strong grassroots movement of working people who refused to take no for an answer, 32 jurisdictions throughout the country have implemented a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour and legislation he introduced with Congressman Bobby Scott to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour passed the House last summer.
Steyer: Yes. I support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour. A minimum wage a floor that workers must be paid, but we know that it is not enough. The minimum wage has not kept up with the true cost of living. I support raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and I support a living wage for all Americans.
Warren: Yes. We need to turn the minimum wage into a living wage. After my daddy had a heart attack and couldn’t go back to work, my mom went to Sears and got a minimum wage job. That minimum wage job saved our house and our family. But when my mom got that job at Sears, the minimum wage would support a family of three, take care of the mortgage and utilities, and put food on the table. Today, a full-time minimum wage job will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty and that is wrong. That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Q5: Do you support the elimination of tipped minimum wage so all hourly workers have the same wage base?
Biden: Yes. (see previous answer)
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will sign the Raise the Wage Act.
Buttigieg: Yes. I support ending the tipped minimum wage. No one in the United States should be exempted from minimum wage laws.
De La Fuente: Yes. To rebuild the middle class and reduce income and wealth inequality, we must unlock the economic potential of all Americans. As President, I will: demand large corporations pay their fair share in taxes; boost wages by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour – across the board, and sign into law federal legislation that criminalizes unfair pay equity for women.
Klobuchar: Yes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass the Raise the Wage Act — a bill she co-sponsors in the Senate — to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 for all workers and guarantee that all workers are paid at least the federal minimum wage including by eliminating the tipped minimum wage.
Sanders: Yes. Today, women of color make up a disproportionate number of tipped workers in America. Outrageously, the poverty rate for Black women working in tipped occupations making the subminimum wage of $2.13 an hour is 27.5 percent. When Bernie is in the White House, we will raise the federal minimum wage from the current wage of $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour for all workers, and we will do away with subminimum wages for all workers, including for tipped workers and workers with disabilities.
Steyer: Yes. I will fight for a federal $15/hr minimum wage: every worker deserves to make a minimum wage of $15 per hour, including tipped workers and workers with disabilities, and indexing it to inflation moving forward.
Warren: Yes. I will fight to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which increases the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers – including tipped workers and workers with disabilities – and indexes the minimum wage to median wage growth. While I push to enact that legislation, I will sign an executive order on the first day of my administration to require all federal contractors to pay a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
Q6: Do you have a plan to support benefits for low-wage workers that will guarantee paid sick and safe days (safe days are for people fleeing and getting help due to domestic violence)?
Biden: Yes. No one should be forced to work while sick, especially the tens of millions of Americans whose jobs bring them into contact with customers or co-workers. As president, I will enact legislation, modeled on Senator Murray’s Healthy Families Act, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave for workers to go to the doctor, recover from an illness, or care for a sick child or family member, care for a family member with disability-related needs, and safe days for domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking survivors. I also will go further by ensuring those days can be used by workers when they need time off to take care of routine family needs – like attending parent-teacher conferences -or after the loss of a family member, or to recover from workplace violence.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will ensure all employees have access to seven days of paid sick leave. He will sign the Healthy Families Act, require all companies to give seven days of sick leave and insist that larger companies pay their employees during leave. He will also press Congress to guarantee pay for workers at smaller firms and those who work part-time by establishing a fund with mandatory employer contributions.
Buttigieg: Yes. Less than 40% of Americans have personal medical leave through an employer’s temporary disability insurance program. As President, I will set up a national system of paid sick leave. My plan will cover workers who do not receive at least seven paid sick leave days from their employer, even under the Healthy Families Act. For those workers, their employers would be required to pay the equivalent of one hour of pay for every 30 hours they work, up to a total of 56 hours, into a state fund that these workers could draw from. My administration will also decouple medical leave benefits from family care and new child leave benefits to provide a longer total annual leave for workers who have both serious personal health issues and a family health issue or new child within the same year.
De La Fuente: Roughly 78% of American workers live paycheck to paycheck and the financial stress they endure creates an outrageous choice month to month: do they pay for food, rent or prescription drugs? This financial stress employees face creates a tremendous problem for employers who lose profitability. We must raise the minimum wage to at least $15.00 an hour. But make no mistake, raising the minimum wage to $15.00 across the board alone will not solve the problem. Corporations like Lowe’s that invest in benefits for its employees are a model for how businesses in partnership with the federal government can provide benefits, security, and jobs with dignity.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar believes that too many people aren’t sharing in our country’s economic prosperity and that all people should have a fair shot in today’s economy. In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar is a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act, which would provide paid sick days and safe days, and she will get the bill passed as President. Senator Klobuchar will also work to pass legislation guaranteeing up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and allowing workers to earn paid sick leave.
Sanders: Yes. Lower-wage and part-time jobs, which are predominantly filled by women, are far less likely to offer paid family, medical, and sick leave. Unacceptable. Bernie believes we must guarantee paid family and medical leave, paid vacation, and paid sick days. When it comes to supporting real family values, the United States lags behind virtually every major country on earth. As President, Bernie will provide 6 months of paid family leave, provide families with paid sick time, paid vacation, and ensure survivors of domestic violence receive paid leave as well.
Steyer: Yes. In my administration, I will ensure that benefits for all workers will include paid sick leave and safe days.
Warren: Yes. Nearly every worker in America has needed to take time off from work because they or a loved one are sick. And, every year, nearly 20 million people in the nation survive domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking by an intimate partner —and may need time off to get medical care, a protective order, and keep themselves and their families safe. But last year, only about half of low wage-workers and less than half of part-time workers had paid sick days. Every worker deserves the right to paid sick and safe days to take care of themselves and their families. That’s why I support the Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee workers the right to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave every year.
Q7: Do you support a comprehensive federal policy for paid family and medical leave that is funded by small contributions from both workers and employers that includes parental, family and self-care?
Biden: I was proud to fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act, landmark legislation that created important workplace protections and granted 12 weeks of leave to working families. But we need to go further — I believe the United States should guarantee 12 weeks of paid sick and family leave for workers. I support the coverage and protections in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s FAMILY Act, which recognizes that workers need paid time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, to take care of themselves or family members with serious health conditions, or to care for military family members and help them prepare for deployments. And, it won’t just help some workers. Part-time workers, independent contractors, workers who change jobs, and workers at small employers will be able to take the time they need too. Instead of instituting a payroll tax on employers and employees like the FAMILY Act does, I will pay for this proposal by returning the estate tax to 2009 levels.
One of the highlights of my career as a public servant has been standing with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault; they shouldn’t be left behind here either. As president, I will guarantee paid leave for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking who need time to seek physical or mental care, seek counsel, find new housing, or take other action related to the violence they experienced.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will require employers to give 12 weeks of paid family leave. He will work with Congress to pass legislation providing paid family leave and will extend job protection during leave to workplaces with fewer than 50 employees, which are currently excluded from federal law.
Buttigieg: Yes. Today, just 19 percent of workers have paid family leave through their jobs. That’s tens of millions of people–mostly middle and working class families, disproportionately people of color, people with disabilities, and women–who are left behind or forced to make impossible choices that damage their economic security. These gaps contribute to a culture where, too often, our families’ needs come last. This is unacceptable. It’s why, as Mayor, I offered fully paid parental leave in South Bend, and it’s why as President will make sure workers have at least 12 weeks of paid family leave per year as a portable benefit. I strongly support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act and the Healthy Families Act–and propose reforms to strengthen the FAMILY Act. These include making sure that benefits for lower- income workers will be high enough so they can afford to take leave, and no one will lose their job when they need time away to provide care. Caregiving responsibilities for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and chosen family members will also be included.
De La Fuente: Yes. The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that does not offer paid family and sick leave and it is costing American productivity globally. States like Washington and Arizona have paved the way at the ballot box by passing creative legislation that offers solutions and as President, I will support efforts to expedite federal legislation that doesn’t just provide job security if you are sick, but ensures that workers continue to receive pay during their time out of work due to illness.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar supports providing paid sick days and paid family and medical leave at the federal level that includes parental, family, and self-care. In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has been a strong supporter of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act. As President she will work with Congress to create a national paid family leave program to provide workers with 12 weeks of paid leave per year to care for a new child, a family member with a serious health condition, or their own serious health condition. The program would replace up to two thirds of income and will include protections to maintain eligibility for part-time workers, people working at small businesses, and self-employed workers.
Sanders: Yes. Bernie believes we must guarantee paid family and medical leave, paid vacation, and paid sick days. When it comes to supporting real family values, the United States lags behind virtually every major country on earth. As President, Bernie will provide 6 months of paid family leave, provide families with paid sick time, paid vacation, and ensure survivors of domestic violence receive paid leave as well.
Steyer: Yes. The US is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not extend leave to its citizens for the birth of a child, long term care needs or death. I will advocate for Paid Family Leave legislation that will allow a minimum of 6 months paid family leave for all workers.
Warren: Yes. Last year, only 19 percent of civilian workers had access to paid family leave through their employer or through a state program, and only 40 percent had short-term disability insurance for their own personal medical issues. Low-wage workers were even less likely to have access. Although federal law currently requires employers to provide unpaid leave to qualified workers, the eligibility requirements exclude about 40 percent of private sector workers. And nearly half of eligible workers report that they simply cannot afford to take unpaid time off work. Inability to access paid leave is particularly harmful for families of color, who have experienced systemic racism that leaves them with less wealth to draw on for unpaid leave and a greater likelihood of experiencing chronic health conditions. That’s why I’m a co-sponsor of the FAMILY Act, which would provide up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave in a one year period. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s figures, about 113 million American workers who do not have access to paid family leave could gain access, and almost 84 million workers could gain access to short-term disability coverage. While we fight for change in Congress, I’ll use the tools of the presidency to expand fair pay and benefits as fast as we can. I’ll issue an Executive Order on day one requiring federal contractors to create equal opportunities for Black, Latina, Native American, Asian and other women of color. That will include requiring federal contractors to extend a $15 minimum wage and benefits like paid family leave, fair scheduling, and collective bargaining rights to all employees. This will have an outsized effect on Black and Brown women, who perform a disproportionate share of lower-wage work.
Q8: Do you support applying a cost of living index to the minimum wage that increases wages with a rise in the cost of living?
Biden: Yes. While raising the minimum wage is just a start, it is necessary to reverse decades of wage stagnation for working families and start to remedy income inequality. I strongly support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and indexing it thereafter to the median hourly wage of all employees. This increase will include workers who aren’t currently earning the minimum wage, like the farm workers who grow our food. Not only will this directly raise wages of over 28 million workers, but it will also increase wages of nearly 12 million workers already making over $15 as employees seek to attract and retain their employees, lifting the wages of more than one in four wage-earning people in the workforce.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and increasing it automatically in future years by linking it to growth in earnings.
Buttigieg: Yes. We need to index the federal minimum wage to median wage growth so that moving forward, both workers and employers know with certainty what it will be in the years to come. I strongly endorse the Raise the Wage Act. Passing this Act is especially important for hardworking people of color in minimum wage jobs who are being gentrified and priced out of neighborhoods they have been anchoring their whole lives.
De La Fuente: Yes. Of course, the minimum wage must reflect the economic realities and facts of our increased cost of living index. We cannot create public policy based upon fiction.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar is a co-sponsor of the Raise the Wage Act, which would automatically raise the minimum wage based on the annual average increase in wages.
Sanders: Yes. Bernie led the introduction of the Raise the Wage Act which raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour and increases wages to keep up with median wage growth because the time is long overdue to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage. The Fight for $15 has proven to the world that when people stand together and fight for economic, social, and racial justice real change can take place. Just a few short years ago, we were told that Bernie’s legislation to more than double the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour was a radical, pie-in-the-sky idea. Today, it is a mainstream idea that the majority of the American people support. The $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage that must be raised to $15 an hour and indexed to median wage growth.
Warren: I will fight to pass the Raise the Wage Act, which increases the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers – including tipped workers and workers with disabilities – and indexes the minimum wage to median wage growth.
Q9: Do you support organizing and collective bargaining rights for workers, including for state and local public service jobs that have historically provided a path to the middle class for women and people of color?
Biden: Yes. Strong unions built the great American middle class. Everything that defines what it means to live a good life and know you can take care of your family – the 40-hour work week, paid leave, health care protections, a voice in your workplace – is because of workers who organized unions and fought for worker protections. Because of organizing and collective bargaining, there used to be a basic bargain between workers and their employers in this country that when you work hard, you share in the prosperity your work created. Public sector unions provide the voice that workers – including educators, social workers, firefighters, and police officers – need to ensure they can serve their communities. And, public sector unions have been and continue to be an essential pathway to the middle class for workers of color and women, who disproportionately work in the public sector. Yet, in many states across the country, public sector workers do not have the right to bargain collectively. In states such as Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, and Indiana, these rights are increasingly under attack.
I have proposed a plan to grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class – the backbone of the American economy – by strengthening public and private sector unions and helping all workers bargain successfully for what they deserve. As president, I will check the abuse of corporate power over labor and hold corporate executives personally accountable for violations of labor laws; encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining; and ensure that workers are treated with dignity and receive the pay, benefits, and workplace protections they deserve. As president, I will establish a federal right to union organizing and collective bargaining for all public sector employees, and make it easier for those employees who serve our communities to both join a union and bargain. View details of my plan for strengthening worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions HERE
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will grant all workers — including gig, contract and franchise employees — the right to organize and bargain collectively, and oppose the spread of anti-union “right to work” laws. He supports the PRO Act, will remove barriers to union membership and significantly increase the number of union workers. Mike will guarantee public-sector employees the right to unionize and bargain collectively, and supports the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. He will extend traditional protections, including the minimum wage, to domestic workers and farm workers and eliminate non-compete clauses for low- and middle-income workers.
Buttigieg: Yes. We need to ensure that workers–including all those who choose to serve their country by working in public service jobs–get the full due process and collective bargaining rights they deserve. But it also goes beyond bargaining rights; we also must protect the rights of civil servants by ending actions like targeting performance awards. Further, I will undo the actions of the Trump administration that weaken federal employees’ due process and collective bargaining rights on my first day in office. The Trump administration has repeatedly shown its dedication to undermining federal employees and government services. And we need to remember that these actions are not new: Republicans have consistently gone after federal employees.
De La Fuente: Yes. I support organizing and collective bargaining rights for workers, including for state and local public service jobs that have historically provided a path to the middle class for women and people of color. But I believe we must ban political contributions from unions.
Klobuchar: Yes. As the granddaughter of an iron ore miner and the daughter of a union teacher and a union newspaperman, Senator Klobuchar knows that unions give Americans and their families the opportunities they need to succeed. As President, she will stand up against attempts to weaken our unions —especially in the wake of the troubling Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision —including by protecting collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, and making it easier — and not harder — for workers to join public sector unions. Senator Klobuchar strongly supports organizing and collective bargaining rights for workers and that includes state and local public service jobs that have historically provided a path to the middle class for women and people of color.
Sanders: Yes. Under Bernie’s Workplace Democracy Plan, we will guarantee all workers their right to organize and bargain collectively in the workplace – not only for decent wages, but for decent benefits, safe working conditions and reliable schedules. Our plan expands workers’ rights and will double union membership in this country in his first term. We will ensure that when a majority of workers in a bargaining unit sign cards to join a union, they will have a union. When Bernie is President, we will make sure every public sector union in America has the freedom to negotiate. He will sign the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act to guarantee the right of public employees to organize and bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and working conditions in states that currently do not offer these fundamental protections, and he will eliminate so-called “right to work” laws across the country.
Steyer: Yes. The labor movement has always been at the forefront of the fight for social and economic justice. For decades, it helped create a middle class and made sure that workers realized the American dream. I’m a progressive and a capitalist, but unchecked capitalism produces market failures and economic inequities. My Economic Agenda recognizes that American economic productivity and sustained economic growth is rooted in the health and welfare of its workers. The principles embodied in my agenda measure the true value of our economy not in dollars and cents, but in the strength of our communities and the improvements to the quality of life of our people. By investing in people, we open the doors of economic mobility, create new pathways for long-term growth, and underwrite America’s future economic stability. I support the organizing and collective bargaining rights of workers in both the public and private sector.
Warren: Yes. We cannot have a truly democratic society with so little power in the hands of working people. We cannot have sustained and inclusive economic growth without a stronger labor movement. That’s why putting power in the hands of working people will be the overarching goal of my presidency. Unions built America’s middle class, and with the strong support of my administration, they will help rebuild America’s middle class. The three core federal laws that protect and empower workers should protect all workers. But outdated exceptions – some originally motivated by outright racism or sexism – and changes in modern working arrangements have denied millions of workers these basic protections. My plan to empower workers and raise wages would right these wrongs and help raise labor standards for all workers. My plan will guarantee working people their organizing rights and makes it easier for unions to secure contracts and assert their rights in all industries. And I will fight to enact the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which ensures that public employees can organize and bargain collectively in every state. You can read my full plan to empower American workers and raise wages here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/empowering-american- workers
Q10: Do you have a plan to generate living wage jobs?
Biden: Yes. I am going to make dramatic investments to create good jobs and grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class. My $1.7 trillion plan to combat climate change will create 10 million good-paying jobs with an opportunity to unionize. That includes a $1 trillion transformational investment in our country’s infrastructure. It will not only dramatically improve our nation’s infrastructure – making us more productive and resilient – but will also be the economic shot-in-the-arm our economy so desperately needs.
Additionally, I will propose legislation that incorporates labor provisions contained in Senator Merkley’s Good Jobs for 21st Century Energy Act, adopting all basic labor protections, ensuring that all investments meet Davis-Bacon wage guidelines, and banning anti-worker provisions like forced arbitration and the overuse of temporary staffing agencies. I will require federally funded projects to source materials in the U.S., to employ workers trained in registered apprenticeship programs, and to prioritize Project Labor and Community Workforce Agreements in federal procurement procedures. My proposal will make sure that national infrastructure investments create millions of middle-class jobs, benefiting union and non-union workers across industries. To ensure that more middle-class jobs are not exported to foreign countries, my trade agenda will put labor and other progressive stakeholders at the center of America’s negotiating strategy and planning and require forceful protection of workers’ rights and the environment in the heart of any future agreements. In addition, I will impose tough, aggressive, and consistent enforcement of worker and environmental protections against all our trading partners who may violate them.
View details of my plan for investing in middle class competitiveness HERE and my plan for strengthening worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions HERE
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike has a plan to bring better jobs to the people and communities that have been short-changed by President Trump. His All-In Economy agenda – one that works for All People in All Places – puts more Americans to work in better paying, higher-quality jobs, reinvigorates communities through strategic investments and public-private-academic partnerships, and provides education and training to millions of community college students. This includes sending billions of dollars to communities across the nation to help create jobs and grow incomes by investing in research, talent, and infrastructure, and turning communities into engines for tomorrow’s economy.
- Invest in local communities to create jobs of the future
- Modernize education and training
- Increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour
- Enhance worker rights and benefits
- Support entrepreneurship
- Better connect rural communities to growth centers
Buttigieg: Yes. Millions of workers today are stuck in jobs that do not pay fair, living wages or provide them with the predictable schedules that they need to look after their families. To generate more living wage jobs, I will take actions including passing a $15 dollar minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick leave and 12 weeks of paid family leave, creating 3 million new jobs in minority communities through the Walker Lewis initiative for entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds, and creating an additional three million high- quality jobs with strong labor protections in clean industries and infrastructure in the coming decade. I will also turn jobs like child care and caregiving–whose workers are disproportionately women and people of color–by turning care jobs into quality jobs.
De La Fuente: Among my top priorities as President will be to implement a massive program to revitalize America’s infrastructure that will create tens of thousands of competitive and living wage jobs across the country. Our nation’s crumbling roads and dilapidated cities are a national disgrace. There was a time when American cities were the envy of countries around the world, and we must return to that place. We can create jobs while taking nurturing our great nation that has nurtured so many Americans.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar believes that everyone who works hard should be able earn enough to care for and support their family. That means raising the minimum wage, providing paid family leave and child care and making sure people have a secure retirement. And it means a Competitive Agenda for America to generate living wage jobs and ensure that America continues to be a country that thinks, that invents, that makes stuff, and that exports to the world. As part of that agenda, Senator Klobuchar has proposed a bold plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure, invest in our future, and create millions of good-paying American jobs.
Sanders: Yes. As President, Bernie will guarantee every American a decent job that pays a living wage as a right. We will raise the minimum wage to a living wage for all and enact a federal jobs guarantee. Under our Green New Deal, we will create 20 million good-paying, union jobs modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and transitioning over to 100 percent clean and renewable energy sources. The Green New Deal is not only a serious climate plan, but an opportunity to uproot historical injustices and inequities to advance social, racial, environmental and economic justice, including redressing the exclusion of black, brown, Native American, and other vulnerable communities from the programs that made up the original New Deal. Under it, we will create 20 million jobs needed to save the planet. We will also address the shortage of teachers and caregivers in this country. There is plenty of work to be done. We will ensure that work is done and that people are paid well to do it.
Steyer: Yes. Under my Justice-Centered Climate Plan, we will reward workers for the skills and training they acquire to tackle the challenges of our transition to clean energy and will respect the dignity of working people. One job will be enough, and workers will receive family-sustaining wages and benefits, job stability, and security. We can create 4.6 million long-term jobs as we update our electricity grid and build a carbon neutral economy. The highest job growth will be in traditionally densely unionized industries, such as the power sector, public works construction, and manufacturing, and we will invest in sectors like agriculture, forestry, efficient buildings and industry, where jobs cannot be outsourced and workers won’t have to compete with exploited workers overseas. But we are also going to mobilize funds towards social resilience professions, such as nursing, social work, and home health care.
Warren: Yes. Putting power in the hands of working people will be the overarching goal of my presidency. I’ll start by fighting to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour for all workers – including tipped workers and workers with disabilities. I’ll also fight for equal pay for equal work. That is why I support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier to challenge pay discrimination and hold employers responsible for discriminatory practices. And my Fair Workweek plan gives workers more control of their schedules and financial security and access to crucial benefits — like paid family and medical leave. But beyond ensuring that the jobs we have fairly compensate workers, my agenda also creates millions of good-paying jobs. My housing plan is projected to create 1.5 million jobs in construction and rehabilitation. My climate plans, taken together, are estimated to create more than 10 million jobs across industries. By investing in our families and in the technology we need to lead the global effort to combat climate change, we can supercharge our economy and create living wage jobs. You can read my full plan to empower American workers and raise wages here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/empowering-american- workers
Q11: Will you reverse the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) decision to stop collecting pay data information?
Biden: Yes. I believe the United States should be leading on this issue. Improving transparency is one essential step to ending pay gaps between men and women. The Obama-Biden Administration expanded requirements for employers to report pay information to improve the federal government’s ability to take enforcement action against employers who are discriminating and change the culture around pay transparency. As president, I will appoint people to the EEOC who will make enforcing equal pay a priority. I’ll also make it easier for workers to join together in class action lawsuits, shift the burden to employers to prove pay gaps exist for job-related reasons, and increase penalties against companies that discriminate, as called for in the Paycheck Fairness Act. And, I’ll hold companies accountable by increasing funding for investigators and enforcement actions.
Bloomberg: Yes. Donald Trump has done everything in his power to hide the wage disparities carried out under his watch. Mike believes in using data and transparency to combat wage discrimination and achieve pay equality. Mike supports an SEC rule requiring public companies to publish information on gender and racial pay disparities. Mike will also reverse current Equal Employment Opportunity Council policy to not publish industry-aggregated wage data broken down by race and gender that it collects from companies with more than 100 employees.
Buttigieg: Yes. It’s time to get serious about enforcement. Doubling funding for the EEOC—which has been persistently underfunded, causing yearslong case backlogs—will enable the Commission to hire staff and implement systems to fully investigate claims, proactively address potential employment discrimination patterns revealed by employer workforce data, modernize data management practices, and make funding available to EEOC field offices, civil and human rights commissions, and local labor and workers rights organizations so that people across the country have local resources. I will also reinstate the EEOC’s authorization to collect, analyze and act on pay data, and appoint my EEOC Chair as a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: Yes. The Trump Administration has tried to block rules that require large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity in an effort to prevent pay discrimination. Senator Klobuchar will end the Trump Administration’s legal efforts to prevent the rule from taking effect.
Sanders:As a Senator, Bernie signed a letter urging the EEOC to reverse this disastrous decision. The data collected by the EEOC provides a critical tool to prevent wage discriminition. As President, Bernie will reinstate expand on the EEOC’s data collection.
Steyer: Yes. There has to be a clear law that mandates equal pay for equal work. While the EEOC has stopped collecting pay data for large employers, I will ensure that this policy is reversed and extends to all employers. We must take action to address discriminatory wage gaps.
Warren: Yes. I opposed this decision at the time and I will push to reverse it as president.
Q12: Do you support strengthening federal laws to protect women from sexual harassment in the workplace?
Biden: Yes. You can view details of my plan to end violence against women HERE, which includes ensuring workers can have their day in court by ending mandatory arbitration clauses imposed by employers on workers, including for claims of workplace sexual harassment. 60 million American workers have been forced to sign contracts waiving their right to sue their employer and nearly 25 million are forced to waive their right to bring class action lawsuits and joint arbitration. An estimated 57.6% of female workers are forced to sign forced arbitration clauses. These contracts require employees to use individual, private arbitrations when their employer violates federal and state laws – including workplace discrimination and harassment. Forced arbitration proceedings are conducted in private, often by arbitrators selected by the employer. Even worse, forced individual arbitration clauses bar employees with similar grievances from joining together, which will strengthen their claims and sometimes enable them to find lawyers who will represent them. I will spearhead legislation to completely eliminate mandatory individual arbitration, including for claims of workplace sexual harassment. By getting rid of mandatory individual arbitration, I will also support employees’ ability to band together in the courts to address their collective issues through class action lawsuits and to bring class claims through arbitration.
Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will ensure the right to sue employers for harassment and discrimination related to characteristics such as race, gender, sexual orientation veteran status or disability.
Buttigieg: Yes. I endorse the EMPOWER Act, to limit companies’ ability to keep harassment survivors quiet, the BE HEARD Act, to extend civil rights law prohibiting harassment to all workers and workplaces, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to ensure pregnant workers are not forced out of work when they need reasonable workplace accommodations.
De La Fuente: Yes. For far too long women have been living in oftentimes hostile work environments. I support an across-the-board process for reporting and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. We live in a nation that mandates due process and every allegation must be treated with due process.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar is deeply committed to doing more to ensure all Americans can work in workplaces free from harassment. In 2018, she successfully led legislation with Senator Blunt that changed the way harassment claims are handled in Congress by ensuring a victim can immediately pursue an administrative hearing or file a civil action and holding members of Congress personally liable to pay for settlements. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass Senator Murray’s BE HEARD in the Workplace Act — legislation she co-sponsors in the Senate — that provides a comprehensive approach to addressing workplace sexual harassment and assault by promoting transparency and accountability, strengthening legal remedies, and making sure all workers are protected. And as President she will push for additional legislation to address sexual harassment in the workplace such as Senator Kamala Harris’s Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act that addresses sexual harassment and gender harassment in STEM fields.
Sanders: Yes. When Bernie is in the White House, he will do everything he can to protect workers from workplace harassment and discrimination. Bernie is a proud cosponsor of and will sign into law the BE HEARD Act, to expand and strengthen our anti-harrassment and discrimination laws and ensure individuals have access to justice. This legislation will work to create harassment-free workplaces, and crack down on companies that fail to address harassment and discrimination in the workplace. He will pass the Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ+ individuals are protected from harassment.
Bernie knows that one of the most important things we can do to stop workplace harassment and discrimination is to make it easier for workers to join unions to protect workers from exploitation and violations of labor laws. He will do just that by passing his Workplace Democracy plan and doubling union membership in this country. Bernie will undo Trump’s attack on the Equal Opportunity Commission. As President, Bernie will work to ensure every person, especially women, feel safe and empowered in their place of employment.
Steyer: Yes. I will seek to end legalized discrimination by passing the Equality Act. Currently stalled on Mitch McConnell’s desk, the Equality Act would extend Federal civil rights protections for all, including harassment.
Warren: Yes. Yes, I have introduced several pieces of legislation that would protect survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and harassment. My Sunlight in the Workplace Harassment Act would hold harassers accountable at public companies and put an end to secret corporate settlements that let the powerful get away with abuse, harassment, and discrimination. I introduced the Sexual Trauma Response and Treatment (START) Act to combat the epidemic of sexual assault in the military and to help military sexual assault survivors access critical treatment and support. I believe colleges should be held accountable and have a responsibility to protect survivors of assault and harassment. That’s why I’ve fought Betsy DeVos’ Education Department’s attempts to weaken sexual assault protections. I also believe we cannot require schools to subject survivors to live cross examination because it undermines Title IX and discourages victims and witnesses from coming forward.
Q13: Do you agree that there continues to be a need for equal opportunity programs in the workplace, in business and in education to ensure access and equity for minorities and women?
Biden: Yes. I will ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability. I will invest in our schools to eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts, and rich and poor districts. I will reinstate Obama-Biden Department of Education guidance that supported schools in legally pursuing desegregation strategies and recognized institutions of higher education’s interests in creating diverse student bodies. And, I will provide grants to school districts to create plans and implement strategies to diversify their schools.
Recognizing the substantial and unique impact that teachers of color have on students of color, I will support more innovative approaches to recruiting teachers of color, including supporting high school students in accessing dual-enrollment classes that give them an edge in teacher preparation programs, helping paraprofessionals work towards their teaching certificate, and working with historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions to recruit and prepare teachers. Additionally, my comprehensive plan for education beyond high school includes significant investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
To help develop the workforce that will build the new backbone of our country, I will work with Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor to fund new Apprenticeship Readiness Programs that specifically target veterans, women, and communities of color to enter the construction trades and that are connected to Registered Apprenticeships. I will additionally extend the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) through 2025 and double its federal funding to $3 billion, driving close to $30 billion of private sector investments to small businesses all told, especially those owned by women and people of color. View details of my plans to ensure access and equity for minorities and women in education HERE, in business HERE, and with regards to addressing the climate crisis HERE.
Buttigieg: Yes. Because what you learn is often associated with what you can earn, we need to make sure that every student can develop basic digital skills that are increasingly necessary for the new jobs of the future. That is why my Internet for All plan will ensure that every child — regardless of where they live or how much their parents make — can take full advantage of digital learning opportunities. And that’s why I will invest $500 billion to make college affordable for working and middle-class families, and extend computer science education and high-quality work experiences in tech industries to students at Title I schools. As President, I will also invest more than $50 billion in workforce development and lifelong learning. Local non-profits, unions, employers, and community colleges have created proven pathways for young and middle-age workers to enter into good jobs. In addition to increasing workplace protections and worker power through my New Rising Tide plan (https://peteforamerica.com/policies/empower-workers/), I will invest federal dollars into these programs so that incomes can grow for all workers, whether or not they have a college degree. In addition, I will form a presidential “Skills Cabinet” to develop and invest in the first-ever skills strategy for the United States that will guide an increase of $2 billion each year in targeted workforce programs.
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar supports equal opportunity programs in the workplace, in business and in education. Nationally, women working full-time earn 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man, and the gap gets even wider for people of color. Black women are paid just 61 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Senator Klobuchar believes this is wrong and that all Americans deserve equal pay for equal work. In the Senate, she is a co-sponsor of Senator Murray’s Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure that employers pay women and men equally for equal work. As President, she will make passing this bill a priority and she will take action to stop the Trump Administration efforts to block rules that require large companies to disclose what they pay employees by sex, race, and ethnicity in an effort to prevent pay discrimination. Senator Klobuchar also supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which will particularly help women and people of color who are more likely to be in jobs paying less than that rate. In addition, Senator Klobuchar is committed to increasing economic opportunities for women. As co-chair of the Diversify Tech Caucus and Women’s High Tech Coalition, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in expanding STEM education for women and underrepresented minorities. As Senator, she successfully passed multiple bills to improve the representation of underrepresented groups on the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Panel, improve retention of minority STEM teachers, strengthen NASA’s STEM outreach to women and girls, and help the National Science Foundation assist female entrepreneurs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will continue to make increasing economic opportunities for women and women of color a priority.
Sanders: Bernie believes must leverage every tool available to ensure access and equity in the workplace, in business and in education– including equal opportunity programs.
When Bernie is in the White House, he will:
- Establish a dedicated fund of $5 billion to create and expand teacher-training programs at HBCUs, MSIs and tribal colleges and universities to increase educator diversity.
- Provide $5 billion to programs that increase recruitment, retention, and professional development of diverse K-12 teachers.
- Establish a dedicated fund of $5 billion to create and expand medical and dental provider training programs at HBCUs, MSIs and tribal colleges and universities to help end the shortage of minority doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, dental hygienists, psychologists, and other medical providers.
- Address underrepresentation in critical fields by designating federal research funds for HBCUs to increase the number of student-led and faculty-driven research conducted at HBCUs that advances basic scientific ideas in the STEM fields of science, technology, energy and mathematics, as well as healthcare.
- Establish a dedicated fund to create and expand mentorship and academic advising for undergraduate HBCU and MSI students studying to attend medical and dental schools.
- Significantly expand the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers to bring more doctors and nurses of color to underserved areas. This includes expanding the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program, the Nurse Practitioner Residency Training Program, and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program to develop the workforce we need.
- Create a $20 billion grant program within the Minority Business Development Agency to provide grants to entrepreneurs of color who continue to face discrimination in access to capital.
Steyer: Yes. I support an America that provides equal opportunity for everyone. Government must work in partnership with all sectors of the economy to advance policies and programs that effectively, equitably, and efficiently deliver services that promote upward mobility and provide economic opportunity.
Warren: Yes. I have a number of plans to provide equal opportunity for minorities and for women. For example, my entrepreneurship plan provides government grants for startup capital for minority entrepreneurs. I also have a plan for a set of executive actions I will take on day one of my presidency to value the work of women of color, help close the wage gap, and provide more pathways for advancement for women of color in the executive branch.
Q14: Will you prioritize Office of Personal Management’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion efforts to provide federal agencies concrete strategies and best practices to recruit, hire, include, develop, retain, engage and motivate a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce?
Biden: Yes. I’ll also make sure that the federal government, our country’s biggest employer, better reflects its people. Building on the Obama-Biden Administration’s work to promote federal workplace diversity, we’ll recruit more women and people of color into the federal workforce; offer more training to retain more people on the job; and hold ourselves more accountable by collecting better data on who is applying and being hired and promoted.
The Obama-Biden Administration engaged in short- and long-term strategic planning to improve the federal government’s policies and practices with respect to a more diverse workplace and set up reporting mechanisms for progress made across federal agencies. The comprehensive Government-wide Inclusive Diversity Strategic Plan from the Obama-Biden Administration specifically included: “a focus on data-driven decision-making through the strategic use of applicant flow data from past selection processes to help agencies plan recruitment for subsequent selection processes so as to foster a diversified applicant pool at all stages of the employee life-cycle.” It also encouraged federal agencies to “emphasize and identify potential areas of implicit bias, train agencies on the New Inclusion Quotient (New IQ), create a more interactive Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP), and intensify and accelerate agency communication techniques.” Throughout this initiative, the Office Management conducted more than 40 trainings related to furthering diversity and inclusion. As president, I will continue to invest in these proven practices that aim to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity across the federal government.
Bloomberg: Yes. The federal government should reflect the people it serves. Mike will make sure that OPM’s Office of Diversity is sharing best practices with other agencies so that they can develop, retain, and engage a diverse, results oriented, high-performing workforce.The federal government should set an example for all employers in the important work to have diversity and pay equity at all levels of responsibility and in all departments and agencies.
Buttigieg: Yes. Personnel is policy, and that is why I am committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion, and belonging across federal agencies. My judicial nominees, Cabinet Secretaries, presidential appointees, and White House staff will reflect the demographic diversity of America. I will make sure that the Office of Personnel Management prioritizes the creation of talent pipelines through partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges. My Office of Public Engagement will establish and build relationships with community leaders and stakeholders from across Black America and other underrepresented communities, and engage teachers, health professionals, business leaders, faith leaders, artists, professional athletes, and community organizers to make sure there are seats at every federal government table to listen to and be more accountable to all Americans.
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: Yes. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work with the OPM’s Office of Diversity of Inclusion and all federal agencies to recruit, hire and retain talented people to lead and work in her administration who represent the diversity of America.
Sanders: When Bernie is President, his administration will be truly representative of the people. We will not have former corporate executives, big donors, and lobbyists in our administration. Instead, Bernie promises that his administration will look like America. That means a diverse set of backgrounds, viewpoints, and lived experiences. That means making sure that historically disenfranchised and marginalized communities play leading roles in our administration. In doing so, we’ll create a government that works for the many, not the few.
To that end, Bernie will prioritize the Office of Personnel Management’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion efforts to provide federal agencies concrete strategies and best practices to recruit, hire, include, develop, retain, engage and motivate a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce.
Steyer: Yes. I’ve strived to promote diversity and inclusion in all the organizations that I have led, and I value diversity of voices and people. My campaign has a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion dedicated to building a campaign staff and culture that reflects the American electorate. Our government must be of, by, and for the people. That means all of us, not just some. My administration will reflect the diversity and plurality that is America.
Warren: Yes. The federal government does a dismal job on diversity and inclusion. The share of Latinas in the federal workforce is about half that of the entire workforce. And even though Black women are disproportionately represented in the federal workforce, they are nearly absent from its leadership ranks. White workers make up nearly 80% of the senior civil service despite making up only 63% of the overall federal workforce. If we’re going to demand more of the private sector, we should demand more of the federal government too. On my first day as president, I will issue an Equal Opportunity Executive Order that will recruit and develop leadership paths for underrepresented workers. I will direct real resources towards attracting entry-level applicants from HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and other minority- serving institutions and reform our higher-level recruiting process to attract diverse experienced hires into senior management positions. I will create new paid fellowship programs for federal jobs for people from marginalized communities and low-income applicants, including formerly incarcerated individuals, focusing especially on agencies where Black and Brown women are most underrepresented. And I will require every federal agency to incorporate diversity as part of their core strategic plan and create support networks through a government-wide mentorship program that centers Black and Brown employees.
Q15: Do you support protecting federal government agencies like the U. S. Postal Service from being privatized?
Biden: Yes. I have long supported the U.S. postal service and its employees – the men and women who provide essential services to people across the country. As Senator, I co-sponsored the Postmasters Equity Act of 2003, which gave postmasters a voice in their pay and benefits, and the Mail Delivery Protection Act, which would have protected against USPS privatization by prohibiting it from contracting mail delivery out to private contractors. And, the Obama-Biden Administration fought to change the federal employees pension funding formula to prevent the Postal service from overpaying into the federal government’s pension fund. USPS workers are the eyes and ears of the community and are often on the first line of defense for rural and disenfranchised communities. Postal service provided to everyone and every house, regardless of geography, income, race, religion, or sexual orientation and we must honor and defend the USPS’s Universal Service Obligation as a core belief of our great nation. As a valuable public service that does not use taxpayer dollars for operating expenses, USPS will be defended from all attempts at privatization when I am president.
Bloomberg: Yes. The USPS provides a vital public service for millions of Americans. To preserve this access, it is critical that it is run by the government.
Buttigieg: Yes. Federal employees, including the U.S. Postal Service, are experts in their fields and provide excellent service to taxpayers. We should be applauding and utilizing their expertise, not trying to undermine it. For example, the Postal Service provides an important service to American citizens – including in rural areas where the private sector may be unwilling to step in. Undermining that service would only hurt the American public and the workers who have dedicated years of service to our government.
De La Fuente: Yes.
Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar opposes privatizing agencies that provide important public services. In the Senate, she is a co- sponsor of a Senate Resolution opposing privatization of the U.S. Postal Service.
Sanders: Bernie will do everything he can to reverse the privatization of public services and support the creation of more good-paying public sector jobs. There are very powerful and wealthy special interests who want to privatize or dismember virtually every function that the government now performs. They see an opportunity for Wall Street and corporate America to make billions in profits out of these services, and couldn’t care less how privatization or a degradation of services affects ordinary Americans.The reality is that many private contractors provide jobs with low pay and no benefits with little or no training. It is not a surprise that initially these private contractors out-bid their government competitors because government jobs provide better pay, health care, pension benefits and quality training to their employees. But, in the long-term, in most instances, privatization leads to poor service, high turnover, and an overall increase in taxpayer dollars.
For more than 230 years, and enshrined in our constitution, the Postal Service has played an enormously important role for the people of our country and for our entire economy. And, that mission today remains as important as it has ever been. The beauty of the Postal Service is that it provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or how remote. It supports millions of jobs in virtually every other sector of our economy. It provides decent-paying union jobs to some 500,000 Americans, and it is the largest employer of veterans. Unfortunately, despite the success and the popularity of the Postal Service, it is under constant attack by those who want to privatize and destroy it. Bernie is strongly opposed to privatizing or undermining the Postal Service. As president, Bernie will protect the Postal Service and strengthen the Postal Service.
And between wage freezes and government shutdowns, the fact of the matter is that no other worker has been asked to sacrifice more on the altar of deficit reduction than our federal workers. For years, federal workers’ wages were frozen, and today wages are still not even close to keeping up with inflation. Not only will we end sequestration, but we will give our federal workforce the pay raise they deserve to at the very least keep up with cost-of-living increases. The time has come to fairly compensate public servants for the enormously important work that they do each and every day. That is exactly what Bernie will do when he is President. And he will protect the benefits and pensions of federal workers.
Steyer: Yes. The United States Postal Service provides critical services. We absolutely must keep 6 day delivery so that no American senior is left waiting for their medicines or Social Security checks. My National Vote By Mail initiative also depends on the USPS to be fully operational so ballots are delivered on time.
Warren: Yes. I oppose privatizing the U.S. Postal Service and have supported measures that would stop the closure of post offices and changes to service standards. For example, in 2013, I co-sponsored Senator Sanders’ Postal Service Protection Act, which would have prevented proposed cuts to Saturday service, as well as unnecessary closures of post offices and mail sorting centers. This bill also would have repealed the requirement that the post office pre-fund 75 years of future health care benefits for retirees over ten years.