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O’Rourke eyes expanding workers’ rights in ’21st Century Labor Contract’

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White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke unveiled a sweeping plan Thursday to boost workers’ rights and labor unions as the former Texas congressman seeks to gin up support for his campaign.

“We need to be there for workers across this country who have always been the engine of our economy,” said O’Rourke. “We need to keep up the fight for $15 an hour to ensure that one job is enough — and no one needs to work a second or third job to support themselves and their families. Only then can we build an economy that finally works for everyone in this country.” 

{mosads}O’Rourke’s plan includes several platforms that are popular across the party, including mandating a $15 per hour minimum wage, rectifying gender and racial wage gaps, protecting LGBTQ employees from workplace discrimination and creating millions of paid apprenticeships.

The Texas Democrat also doubles down on his support for unions in his proposal, including by promising to guarantee collective bargaining rights for all workers and reform labor laws to help unions negotiate with multiple employers within an industry.

To ensure that one job would cover all of a worker’s expenses, O’Rourke’s plan calls for the restoration of the Obama administration’s policy of raising the salary threshold from less than $24,000 to around $50,000 for workers to receive overtime pay and working with Congress to pass a law mandating employers provide seven paid sick days a year.

Labor rights and union expansion has become a hallmark of the crowded 2020 Democratic primary, with several candidates striving to appeal to working-class voters after President Trump’s victory in several key Rust Belt states in 2016.

O’Rourke’s White House bid has thus far struggled to gain traction, though he is hoping his fortunes change after a campaign reset following a break to deal with a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, Texas. However, he has continued to lag near the middle or bottom of most statewide and national primary polls.

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