Winning the House doesn’t just let Democrats block some of the worst things Donald Trump wants from Congress. It also offers a chance to show what Democrats would do if they had the chance. For years Democrats have been introducing great legislation that Republicans would never allow to even come to a vote. Now is the chance to pass some of that in the House and let Senate Republicans explain why they’re not taking action.
Let’s start with the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, while red states like Missouri and Arkansas (most recently) have voted to increase it, showing how deep and broad voter support is. Democrats should be able to pass a substantial minimum wage increase in the House quickly.
Democrats should pass a Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to strengthen protections for pregnant women and prevent abuses like these.
Paid family leave. Sick leave. Protections for Dreamers. These are all obvious, necessary things with widespread support.
But you can go deeper: “Workers should not be forced to sign away their rights as a condition of employment,” Celine McNicholas and Heidi Shierholz write. Democrats should undo one of the worst recent Supreme Court decisions with the Restoring Justice for Workers Act, which allows workers to have their cases against employers heard in a real court, not a rigged arbitration process.
No, this stuff isn’t going to get through the Senate or Donald Trump. But Democrats, show us what you would do if you could. Let the country know that while Republicans use Congress and the presidency to dismantle health care and give big tax breaks to corporations, Democrats would use it to raise the minimum wage and protect pregnant workers and let workers have their day in court.
● Strikes and picket lines, explained for the Teen Vogue audience:
If workers call a strike, and one of their coworkers crosses that line and goes to work anyway, they’ve harmed their union’s ability to negotiate with the employer, thereby weakening the group’s own collective power. Withholding labor is the final card in a union worker’s playbook, and isn’t a decision that’s taken lightly. No one likes going on strike — it’s not exactly a fun time, especially when considering the repercussions for workers, who are losing time and wages — and there’s a reason it’s regarded as a “nuclear option” of sorts for when negotiations have truly hit a wall. Unions are about upholding mutual support, respect, and solidarity to build power. There is power in a union, and as iconic National Farm Workers Association organizer César Chávez reminded us, “When a man or woman, young or old, takes a place on the picket line for even a day or two, he will never be the same again.”
● Rapper Method Man refused to cross a Marriott picket line.
● Hospitals torch safe staffing limits in Massachusetts.
● How labor helped bring down Scott Walker and Bruce Rauner.
● Senior citizens are a growing segment of fast food workers.
Two powerful trends are at work: a labor shortage amid the tightest job market in almost five decades, and the propensity for longer-living Americans to keep working—even part-time—to supplement often-meager retirement savings. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of working Americans aged 65 to 74 is expected to grow 4.5 percent, while those aged 16 to 24 is expected to shrink 1.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
● Arizona Diamondbacks mascots made $60 a game. Next season they'll make even less.