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The Labor issue is important to our district and to my work in Congress.
I am a proud supporter of our nation’s working men and women. Whether it is fighting to protect the right to organize or fighting to guarantee people an adequate living wage, I have always stood hand in hand with America’s workers.
We must respect and defend workers’ right to organize. Today some employers manipulate our laws to delay, frustrate, and prevent workers from organizing. Some studies show that 25 percent of all organizing campaigns end in employers unlawfully firing union supporters. More than half of all employers threaten to partially or fully close a plant if the union wins the election. Four out of five employers require employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings. That is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act.
Unfortunately, there are also many hard working Americans who live paycheck to paycheck. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 4.3 million in the past 4 years. Almost 36 million Americans, including 13 million children, live in poverty today. Since the late 1970s, the number of full-time workers who live in poverty has doubled. An unacceptably low minimum wage is part of the problem. A minimum wage worker who works full-time earns $10,712 a year under the current minimum wage. The 2003 poverty threshold for a family of two (the parent and one child) was $12,682. That means that a full-time minimum wage worker cannot support a single child above the poverty threshold. Upon being sworn into Congress, I pledged to make increasing the minimum wage one of my top priorities. I will work to ensure that working men and women can earn a living wage such that people working full time don’t have to stand in welfare lines.