As the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone said, "we all do better when we all do better." This must be at the core of the efforts we're making to rebuild our economy. I believe that having a job is not just about income, but also pride and dignity for workers and their families.
Creating New Jobs:
The economic downturn has resulted in millions of lost jobs. While some jobs have returned, many Americas are still looking for the opportunity to get back to work. We can address this problem on two fronts. First, we must ensure that unemployment insurance is available as a lifeline for Americans who are actively looking for work. Second, we must pass legislation that creates public and private sector jobs, including the Local Jobs for America Act, which I co-authored. This proposed legislation will create one million public and private sector jobs, secure and strengthen our communities, and keep our economic recovery on track.
The Recovery Act:
President Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit and a quickly‐declining economy that shed 779,000 jobs in January 2009 alone. The Administration and the 111th Congress immediately addressed the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression by passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- a critical step on the road to meaningful economic recovery.
We passed the Recovery Act to create jobs and rebuild our economy, providing tax cuts to 95% of working families and spending with immediate and long‐term economic impacts. The Recovery Act created jobs with funding for infrastructure projects as well as sending billions of dollars to states for education that helped prevent teacher layoffs. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Recovery Act created or saved nearly 3.5 million jobs.
Protecting the Right to Organize:
I believe that giving workers the ability to bargain for better wages and benefits is an integral part of strengthening America's middle class and rebuilding our economy. On average, union workers earn 30 percent more than their nonunion counterparts and nearly 80 percent of union workers have health care benefits. Union workers are also far more likely to have pensions than their nonunion counterparts when they retire. This is why I'm a strong supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, which overhauls out-dated labor laws that heavily favor owners and managers by increasing penalties for businesses who illegally retaliate against workers who attempt to form a union.