The AFL-CIO Executive Council outlined a comprehensive national raising wages initiative at its winter meeting in Atlanta this week.
In its statement today on raising wages, the council says:
Raising wages is about fighting inequality by raising all workers’ wages, and it’s about workers’ right to organize and bargain with our employers to raise our wages without fear of reprisal or dismissal. But raising wages is really about much more than that if we are to build an economy centered on improving the lives of the people who do the work. Creating a raising wages society requires a comprehensive program of action, each part of which is grounded in our collective voice. It begins with re-establishing work—and workers—at the center of the American economy.
The council also says that offshoring jobs to corporate-based trade deals and risky investment schemes, Wall Street and the wealthiest 1%—and even more the wealthiest 0.01%—have shaped our economy for generations.
In a raising wages society, Wall Street will not write the rules of the economy.
It outlines a campaign that includes telling the truth about what has happened to the nation’s economy and who is running it through the AFL-CIO’s Common Sense Economics program to get these facts into the hands of working people.
The council also calls for defending and expanding our rights at work—the right to organize, the right to a living wage, the right to overtime, the right to equal pay—by strengthening and reforming the nation’s labor laws and economic policies that put full employment and wages that rise with productivity ahead of Wall Street profits…increased federal investment to fix our crumbling infrastructure.
Local and state raising wages initiatives have been successful in many cases, and the AFL-CIO will work with allies to expand such efforts.
The labor movement also will hold political leaders accountable, says the council statement:
Accountability means we expect policymakers and candidates to take concrete action to build a raising wages economy. And we demand they stop changing the subject away from economic inequality and wage stagnation and stop proposing Band-Aids that do not really solve the problem. These are the standards by which leadership will be judged.
Accountability starts with presidential politics. In January, we held a National Summit on Raising Wages. Between now and the end of 2015, the AFL-CIO and our state partners will hold Raising Wages summits in the first four presidential primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The first will be in Iowa this spring. Each summit will bring together diverse voices to discuss how we can implement a comprehensive agenda to increase workers’ bargaining power, raise wages and living standards for the vast majority of workers and hold policymakers accountable