The dignity of work is essential to who we are as Americans. I’ve had to single handedly support my entire family. As a kid I’d work from when it was can’t see in the morning dark to can’t see at night dark to make sure the hogs were fed and the crops were harvested. There is dignity in work. But there needs to also be dignity in the paychecks we get for that work. The minimum wage needs to be a living wage. ($15 is the floor, not the ceiling.) I refuse to accept a reality in which CEO’s cut themselves million dollar bonuses yet workers receive a starvation wage.
If we’re serious about building a 21st-century middle class, then we need to get serious about protecting and strengthening unions and standing up to corporate abusers to protect workers’ rights. Only 2.3 percent of the North Carolina workforce are union members. Union members are significantly more likely to receive higher wages and benefits. It was a mail handlers union scholarship that got me through college and I’ve been a member of a union with every job I’ve ever had. Unions are the foundation of a people-centered economy.
I strongly support the PRO Act and will organize with workers across North Carolina and across the country to ensure its passage. I will work to strengthen overtime pay protections and ensure paid family leave is guaranteed. I understand the dignity of work. I also see the dignity of the human beings who are doing that work.