Buttigieg hits Big Tech over worker rights in new economic proposal

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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s (D) presidential campaign unveiled a new economic policy, prioritizing worker rights and calling out tech giants over worker pay and benefits.

Buttigieg’s plan, called “The New Rising Tide: Empowering Workers in a Changing Economy,” argues that, although American gross domestic product is up and overall productivity has increased, “our paychecks didn’t show it,” according to the proposal

{mosads}“Our economy is changing, and too many Americans are working full time, some working two or even three jobs, and still finding it impossible to make ends meet,” Buttigieg said in a statement to The Hill. “Things continue to get more expensive, but paychecks aren’t getting any bigger.

Buttigieg’s plan calls for tech companies like Google, Lyft and Uber to “recognize the consequences” of “an economic reality where workers are eviscerated.” He slams companies for labeling workers “independent contractors,” which can limit benefits, and for outsourcing workers. 

“More than half of workers in Google’s offices do not share in Google’s success because they are domestically outsourced temps and contractors, while millions of Uber and Lyft drivers lack basic protections because they’re misclassified as independent contractors. Meanwhile, so-called ‘right-to-work laws’ in many states have further undermined unions and workers. All of these changes have shifted bargaining power, bit by bit, from workers to their employers,” the plan says. 

The plan calls for a guarantee for all workers to join a union, including independent contractors like Lyft and Uber drivers. His plan also proposes collective bargaining between the companies that control hours and working conditions and workers in addition to codifying the “ABC test,” a more strict definition of independent contractor that would label more workers employees.

Buttigieg also addresses labor unions specifically, proposing “multimillion dollar penalties for employer interference in union elections and workers’ rights.” It would also allow workers to demand “multi-employer bargaining,” meaning that workers at three retail stores could bring all three of their employers to one bargaining table.  

The proposal would also create a national paid leave system for workers who do not get at least seven paid sick days and make pay gaps between men and women at large companies public. The mayor proposed indexing a $15 federal minimum wage to median wage growth to increase paychecks for workers. 

“Pete has seen how politicians in Washington have let these problems get worse and worse, and knows that we need a fundamentally new and different approach to fix our broken political and economic system. We need an economy where everyone has a role and everyone can succeed,” the plan says.

Tags 2020 campaign Buttigieg campaign Pete Buttigieg workers rights

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