2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

Section 8: Labor


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The NAACP 2008 Presidential Candidate Civil Rights Questionnaire



If elected President, what steps would you take to ensure that the federal minimum wage was consistently a fair living wage throughout our Nation?

Senator Clinton:

When I am President, I will ensure that every American working full-time can provide for his or her family. I worked to bring about the recent increase in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 in 2009 -- the first such increase in a decade -- and I support further increasing the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour. And 1 have introduced legislation that will tie increases in Congressional salaries to increases in the minimum wage -- so Congress can't get a raise without giving the American people one as well.
Senator Obama:

This past summer, America's lowest paid workers received their first raise in ten years. This increase was long overdue. We stood up to corporate special interests that wanted to deny hard working Americans the basic dignity of a small increase in pay. Americans are rightly cynical about a Congress that fails to increase pay at the bottom of the wage ladder even as it raises its own pay and cuts taxes for the wealthy.

As president, I will work to make sure Washington represents the national interest instead of the special interests. We must increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour and tie future increases in the minimum wage to inflation so that it grows along with the costs American workers face. And we need to make the minimum wage a living wage that helps American families not just survive, but succeed.



If elected President, what actions, if any, would you take to ensure that people are not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation?

Senator Clinton:

As President, I will sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) into law. Throughout my Senate career, I have been an original co-sponsor of ENDA. It is inconceivable to me that people who work hard and do a good job every day can still be fired because of who they love. It's unfair, it's un-American, and I will put a stop to it once and for all.
Senator Obama:

I have been a long-time advocate for LGBT rights. I believe the Employment Non-Discrimination Act should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. I cosponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation. I am a co-sponsor of the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which would expand federal jurisdiction to reach violent hate crimes perpetrated because of the race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical disability of the victim. And I believe that we should repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has prevented from serving brave men and women who are able and willing to serve.


If elected President, what actions would you take to ensure that labor unions were able to continue to support workers in their efforts to form and be represented by a union?
Senator Clinton:

I am an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) and when I am President, I will make this one of my top priorities. My administration will work to pass it in my first 100 days. The EFCA would level the playing field between workers and employers and ensure that employees would not be unfairly punished by their employers for attempting to unionize.

I am also an original cosponsor of the RESPECT Act, which would amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to modify the definition of supervisor in order to ensure that no employee is unjustly denied his or her right to join a labor union. As President, I will appoint people to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) who respect the rights of workers to freely form and join unions. That's a stark contrast to the current Bush NLRB, which seeks to limit the ability of individuals to join a union at every turn.

I have been proud to stand with organized labor whenever I was called, and I fully support the right to organize and bargain collectively for a better way of life, higher wages, quality health care, and a secure retirement. I am committed to strengthening unions as a way to strengthening the middle class.
Senator Obama:

Unions give workers a voice in the workplace, our political process, and our public policy debates. Simply, unions give workers a voice in deciding their future. For these reasons, they are essential to our democracy and our economy.

I am a co-sponsor of and for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act because I firmly believe that workers should choose whether they want to join a union without fear of intimidation, coercion, or threats to their livelihoods. I am convinced that millions of Americans would join a union if given a fair opportunity, but the National Labor Relations Act in its current form too often allows employers to violate workers' rights with impunity. The Employee Free Choice Act will make the process of organizing less vulnerable to employer lawbreaking by requiring card-check recognition and increasing penalties on employers that violate the law. I support it, will continue to advocate for it, voted for it as a Senator, and would fight for its passage and sign it into law as President.

EFCA is a starting point, but there is more to do. I will use the bully pulpit of the presidency to educate our country about the important role of unions. And I will use the power of the office to appoint members of the National Labor Relations Board and the Labor Department who understand the situation of working families and respect their desire to organize and I will work to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers.


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NAACP Presidential Candidate Civil Rights Questionnaire ] Black Democrats face tough choice in Tuesday's primary ] Blacks Key to Democratic Nominee ] The Black Community's "Change Killers" ] A Black Man as President? ] Is Obama on the Down low with the LGBTQ Community? ] Do We Really Want Another Black President ] Blacks Have Neutered Themselves ] Tracey Morgan: Bitch is the new black (video) ] Class Splits Among African Americans in 2008 Election ] The Coon Effect and Black Presidential Candidates ] What Black Women's Vote Mean for the Presidential Race ] Obama gives blacks hope that change is in the wind ] MAINSTREAM BLACK AMERICANS: Obama upends racial stereotypes ] Not 'other,' just black ]
[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]

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