A Progressive Platform for Everyday Americans

by Paul Booth
Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME

I’m proud to represent Labor on the committee that is drafting the Party platform in the lead up to July’s Democratic National Convention. This Saturday we approved an early draft and I want to share some of the highlights.

The committee believes that working people need to earn at least $15 per hour in order to feed their families, pay bills and keep a roof over their heads. In addition, all workers deserve the right to form a union and collectively bargain with their employer to have a voice at work.

We call for raising and indexing the federal minimum wage for inflation and believe that the unfair practice of ‘tipped’ wages should be eliminated. In addition, we acknowledge that without jobs the young people in this country have no future. The platform directs federal funding to create millions of jobs for youth.

The proposed 2016 Democratic Party platform represents a progressive agenda that promises to be more protective of eroding workers’ rights and reflects the promise of a woman who is a champion for everyday Americans.

This year’s platform commits to breaking up the too-big-to-fail financial institutions that pose a systemic risk. We must appoint regulators who aren’t beholden to the industries that they represent and will defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We propose a surtax on multi-millionaires to ensure the richest among us pay their fair share to build an economy that works for everyone; and we propose expanding Social Security benefits by raising more revenue above the $250,000 salary threshold. The platform opposes cuts to Social Security and privatization of public services.

The plan calls for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, and a minimum of seven paid sick days per year. It recognizes that we must come together to strengthen the rights and benefits of those who take care of the most vulnerable — our home care workforce. As a country we must do a better job of valuing the work that home care workers provide so they aren’t forced to rely on public assistance to support their families. In addition, we must increase our investment in child care as a country and make it more affordable while supporting the hard work of caregivers.

The platform also includes historic investments in infrastructure, including the largest investment since the interstate highway system was built. These include investments in roads, bridges, public transit, airports, rail lines, energy and water systems; and the creation of jobs using American steel. We support a “Make it in America” plan designed to revitalize hard-hit communities by clawing back tax breaks for companies that offshore jobs, and instead reinvest the proceeds in communities and workers at home. The plan eliminates breaks for big oil and gas, restoring fair taxation of multi-million dollar estates and ensures that millionaires don’t pay lower tax rates than their administrative assistants.

The proposed 2016 Democratic Party platform represents a progressive agenda that promises to be more protective of eroding workers’ rights and reflects the promise of a woman who is a champion for everyday Americans.

AFSCME’s members provide the vital services that make America happen. We advocate for prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

AFSCME’s members provide the vital services that make America happen. We advocate for prosperity and opportunity for all working families.