Since my first introduction to organized labor, volunteering to help educate farm workers about the benefits of unionizing in the 70s, I have been a life-long supporter of labor unions.  As a doctoral student in history, I studied under a labor historian. As I travel the district, meeting teachers, steel workers, and farm workers, I’m constantly reminded that 21st century working and middle class prosperity was built on organized labor unions and too many people have forgotten that important history of the United States. 

Unions help ensure that the economy works for everyone, so that everyone is paid a fair wage and works under safe conditions. As a Congresswoman, I will protect existing labor law and also seek reforms that will provide compensation for public-sector unions.  I will be a tireless advocate on behalf of our nation’s hardest workers, supporting legislation to introduce a livable wage for all employees and establish paid family and medical leave as a federal requirement.

My time working in information technology has given me a unique window into a whole category of jobs that are typically unionized but deserve the protections and benefits. I support expanding the definitions of “organizing” and “collective bargaining” so as to bring more types of work groups, such as information-technology workers and ‘gig’ workers, into unions.  As our economy shifts and expands, so too must our ideas of workers and unions.

I will also push for measures that keep jobs in our district, rather than allowing them to be outsourced to other nations. Big companies should not receive tax breaks when they move abroad. Trade should be fair, not free. I support trade deals that are aimed at protecting the integrity of the United States whether it is for a farmer, a steel worker or a businessperson by requiring equitable wages and equivalent health, safety, and environmental requirements.

I support H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, and H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act, otherwise known as the Butch Lewis Act, to bolster the union pensions that were adversely affected by the great recession – if we can help out the big banks, we can help our hard-working union members.