“The American middle class is under assault after a prior GOP administration that was bent on destroying unions, the president and the Democratic Party believe in the right to organize” and in “supporting American workers with strong labor laws.”
These words come from the pages of the 2012 Democratic Party Platform, being anointed in Charlotte, North Carolina during the Democratic National Convention this week. While party platforms are far from guaranteed law upon the election of the party’s candidate, their symbolism is not lost on those who pray the party can recommit to its long time allies in the labor movement.
According to labor-friendly site People’s World, the Democratic party platform “virtually endorses the Employee Free Choice Act, even if it doesn’t actually utter those words.” That bill died in Congress a few years ago where it was expected to be met by a Republican filibuster no matter what.
The party platform gets specific, addressing collective bargaining rights, paycheck deception, the minimum wage and, refreshingly, employee misclassification:
Says if Democratic President Barack Obama is re-elected, his administration will expand and intensify its current drive against employer misclassification of workers as “independent contractors.” Misclassified workers, in construction, trucking and elsewhere, lack labor law, minimum wage/ overtime law and workers’ comp protections. They also pay the employer and worker shares of Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Pledges to fight to extend collective bargaining rights for public workers – praising teachers, Fire Fighters and police specifically – in states that now ban such bargaining. North Carolina, the convention’s state, has the most comprehensive ban.
Says the party will propose raising the minimum wage and then indexing it to inflation. Labor strongly backs Democratic-sponsored legislation to raise the wage in three 85-cent jumps from its present $7.25 per hour to $9.80 hourly, over two years.
Opposes schemes to ban workers from political participation through the workers’ own voluntary contributions. GOP-run states have pushed such bans. GOP operatives put one such ban, with an innocuous name (they dare to call it “paycheck fairness”!), on this fall’s California ballot as an initiative.
When compared to the GOP party platform, which seeks to establish a National “Right-to-Work” law and abolish Project Labor Agreements and the Davis-Bacon act, it’s a no-brainer as to which party represents the interests of the working class.