Why are you running? What are your policy priorities that would benefit working families?
I am running for president because America is running out of time. This election is even bigger than the Donald Trump presidency. Americans have to ask how a president like this even gets within cheating distance of the Oval Office. It doesn’t happen unless America is already in a crisis. We see endless war, climate change, and an economy that doesn’t work for most of us. And it’s only getting worse, and faster. Scientists tell us we have 12 years before we hit the horizon of catastrophe when it comes to our climate. By 2030, a house in this country will on average cost half a million dollars, and a woman’s right to choose may not even exist.
I’ve also seen how, in America today, it is harder and harder not only to get ahead, but also to hold on to what we’ve got. The stock market may be up, but millions of Americans see their paychecks stay flat even as the costs of health care, housing, and college are rising. For too many workers, one job is not enough. Working and middle class families simply can’t keep up.
That’s why my Economic Agenda for Working Families will help raise incomes and address income inequality across America. I will raise the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase incomes by an average of $1,000 for 35 million families; invest $50 billion in workforce retraining; and increase salaries for domestic workers, direct care workers, and minimum wage workers with a $15 minimum wage. My labor plan, A New Rising Tide, will empower minority communities to bargain for better pay and working conditions through policies like multi-employer bargaining, allowing gig economy workers to unionize, and ensuring protections for farm and domestic workers. I will also champion a variety of reforms that combat poverty for all Americans. These include ensuring that every family and child has access to affordable health care through Medicare for All Who Want It and affordable, universal, and full-day child care.
We are not going to be able to meet this moment by recycling the same arguments and the same politicians who have dominated Washington for as long as I’ve been alive. In order to break through and meet these challenges, we have to be ready to summon the courage to walk away from the past and do something different. This is our shot. That is why I am running for president.
Why are you asking for the endorsement of CWA?
For too long, workers’ abilities to organize for themselves and fight for themselves has been undermined. Our nation’s middle class was built by organized labor, and rising attacks on labor have led to the middle class becoming more and more vulnerable. I believe that unions like the Communications Workers of America must have a powerful seat at the table – to stand up against unfair and abusive practices and to collaborate in improving work environments.
We are building a coalition to win the next era. We want to earn your endorsement and the support of your members so that we benefit and learn from their expertise and experience as we continue to grow this movement, develop and refine forward-looking policy positions, and win the Democratic nomination.
List any past activities with the CWA.
The Pete for America campaign participated in an endorsement interview call with the UPTE-CWA Local 9119 on January 7, 2020.
Pete has also tweeted to stand in solidarity with South Bend Tribune workers in their organizing campaign: https://twitter.com/petebuttigieg/status/1217900688912658433?lang=en
(a) Do you support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (H.R. 2474/S. 1306)?
I strongly support the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would take critical steps to reverse the decades long assault by government and corporations alike on workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. I have also proposed a set of policies that would go even beyond the PRO Act to empower workers and raise wages. These include enshrining the right to multi-employer bargaining, imposing multimillion-dollar penalties on companies that interfere with union elections, and requiring “equal airtime on company time” so that workers hear from union organizers, not just employers. As President, my goal will be to accelerate wage growth for the broad middle class, restore our society’s economic compact, and double the share of U.S. workers who are in unions.
Unlike workers in the private sector, the fundamental right to organize and bargain is not provided to all public sector workers. There is currently a patchwork of state and local laws providing those rights to public sector workers. As a union representing public sector workers who have the legal right to bargain and those that don’t, CWA believes that it’s critical that all public sector workers throughout the United States have a right to organize and bargain. The Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (H.R. 3463/S. 1970) will remedy this injustice by ensuring that public employees of state, territorial and local governments have the right to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions.
(b) Do you support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act (H.R. 3463/S. 1970)?
I am committed to ensuring that all workers – regardless of sector, classification, or occupation – have the ability to organize and join a union. That’s why I strongly support the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act as well as the Public Safety Employer Employee Cooperation Act. Workers who choose to enter public service – whether federal, state, or local – should not have to give up their organizing rights in the workplace.
(c) Will you oppose any federal right-to-work (a.k.a. “right to work for less”) policy, and use your platform to oppose any such anti-worker efforts?
So called “right-to-work” laws at the state level have undermined unions and workers for decades. That’s why I support the PRO Act, which would override existing “right-to-work” laws at the state level. I will also ensure a federal right-to-work law is never enacted while I’m President.
(d) What policies will you adopt to ensure that the federal contracting process supports good jobs, rather than subsidizing poverty wages?
Today, companies that take the high road and treat their workers well are at a competitive disadvantage in bidding for government contracts. The federal government should not be using taxpayer money to support companies that do not support their workers. To give an affirmative leg up for high-road employers, I will support legislation that gives preference in the bidding process for federal contracts to companies that are unionized and offer good pay and benefits to all their workers. I will also prioritize strengthening and providing resources to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
(a) Do you support the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3219/S.1792)?
Yes, I support the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act. Federal grants and contracts should prioritize companies that are high-road employers. The federal government shouldn’t be rewarding companies that don’t support their workers, or that undercut American job growth and labor protections by shipping their jobs overseas.
The tax code has for years encouraged companies to move money and jobs overseas—and the Republican tax law that passed in 2017 has made the problem even worse. Many of the companies that are among the biggest beneficiaries of the Republican tax bill, such as AT&T, GE and Wells Fargo, have already been closing American call centers and aggressively offshoring U.S. jobs. After shipping jobs overseas, these companies have been gifted billions of dollars in new tax breaks while being encouraged to offshore even more American jobs in the future. The No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act (S. 780/H.R. 1711) would stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and reverse the offshoring incentives embedded in the 2017 tax law.
(b) Do you support the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act (H.R. 1711/S.780)?
Yes, I support the No Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Act, especially cracking down on the tax code’s incentives to offshore American jobs.
(c) Will you fight to defend existing workers’ pensions, and pledge to oppose any attacks on these had-earned benefits?
Yes, I will fight to protect workers’ pensions. For years, thousands of American workers have relied on
the promise that their hard-earned pensions would provide them with a secure retirement. We cannot
let this promise be broken. That’s why I support legislation like the Butch Lewis Act, which would allow
faltering pension plans to borrow the funds they need to get back on solid footing. At the same time,
my plan to empower workers will make sure that millions more American workers in both the public
and private sectors will have unions fighting for workers’ pensions.
(d) Do you support legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour regardless of region and linking increases to inflation thereafter?
Yes, everyone should be protected by a $15 per hour minimum wage, and that minimum wage should be indexed so that it maintains its buying power forever.
(e) Will you support and strengthen paid leave in all places of employment, and use your platform and influence to actively oppose any attempts to cut such programs?
Yes, my plan guarantees workers access to paid sick leave and 12 weeks of paid family leave – no matter where they work. That’s why I strongly support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act and the Healthy Families Act. I also propose reforms to strengthen the FAMILY Act, as shared here. These include making sure that benefits for lower income workers will be high enough so they can afford to take leave, and no one will lose their job when they need time away to provide care. Caregiving responsibilities for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and chosen family members will also be included.
I will also set up a national system of paid sick leave. Not only that, I will cover workers who do not receive at least seven paid sick leave days from their employer, even under the Healthy Families Act. For those workers, their employers would be required to pay the equivalent of one hour of pay for every 30 hours they work, up to a total of 56 hours, into a state fund that these workers could draw from.
(f) Do you support H.R. 2208/S. 1112, the Cabin Air Safety Act, to establish proper training, monitoring, reporting and investigations to ensure that flight crews and passengers are protected from the effects of toxic cabin air?
Yes. Flight crews and the traveling public should not be exposed to toxic fumes, and I support this legislation to provide the appropriate strict safeguards needed to mitigate these risks.
(a) Do you support the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 949)?
Yes. I strongly support the For the People Act (H.R.1), which the House has already passed and which many Democratic leaders already support.
(b) What criteria will you use to select your Secretary of Labor?
In my cabinet, the U.S. Labor Secretary’s north star must be working people – all working people. Any Secretary of Labor in my administration must be absolutely dedicated to advancing and implementing policies that strengthen the voice, power, opportunity, and wages of American workers.
(c) What criteria will you use in choosing any potential Supreme Court nominees?
First, I would want judicial nominees with strong and demonstrable values. They should have a record that shows consistency in how they interpret the law and understand that the basic function of our judicial system is to solve problems and resolve questions that impact the everyday lives of Americans. Second, I would ensure that the judges I nominate reflect the diversity of America in terms of experience, class background, race, age, region, gender, and sexual orientation. Our society is the most diverse and multi-racial it has ever been––and our justice system should reflect that reality. Third, I would favor nominees that have demonstrated an understanding of the issues that are likely to come before the Court over the coming decades—including questions about technology, privacy, and the future of work. Finally, I would want someone of impeccable personal integrity and character. Our judges, like our elected officials, should be inspirational figures we can learn from, respect, and seek to emulate.
More broadly, however, the current situation with the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, presents a massive challenge to our democracy. We need to reform the Supreme Court in a way that strengthens its independence, restores public trust, and changes the dangerous level of partisanship that presently consumes the process of selecting and confirming nominees. Our democracy depends on a Court that has legitimacy in the eyes of all political parties and among the public. I intend to create a bipartisan commission to recommend structural improvements that will protect the Supreme Court from further politicization.
(a) What is your plan for making health care a basic human right? Where do Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act fall into that?
I strongly believe that health care is a basic human right. My Medicare for All Who Want It plan will help America reach universal coverage by ensuring all Americans have an affordable insurance option. The public alternative will provide the same essential health benefits as those currently available on the marketplaces and ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, comprehensive coverage. My administration will ban surprise medical billing and ensure that health care providers price their services fairly by capping out-of-network rates.
Unlike some proposals, my plan recognizes that some Americans have private insurance that is working well for them. That’s why we preserve the role of private insurance plans, while holding them accountable via competition with the public plan. Our job is to make sure everyone has quality, affordable health insurance options and then trust people to choose what’s best for them. My approach also protects Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C). About one out of three people on Medicare, or 22 million people, rely on Medicare Advantage today.
My plan also improves Medicare and Medicaid in several ways. I will improve affordability in Medicare by capping out-of pocket costs, with lower caps for low-income seniors. To support providers in underserved areas, such as rural communities, I will increase Medicare reimbursement rates and encourage states to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates. I will end Medicaid work requirements and automatically enroll in the public option all individuals with lower incomes in states that have refused to expand Medicaid. Other reforms to strengthen Medicaid include establishing mental health parity and ensuring that people with disabilities on Medicaid have access to care in their homes and communities, including by ending waitlists for waiver programs.
(b) What is your plan for lowering prescription drug costs as well as out-of-pocket costs for workers?
In my drug pricing policy, I lay out a comprehensive plan to reduce prescription drug costs by holding the pharmaceutical industry accountable for responsible pricing and leveraging the power of the federal government to lower costs. My Administration will cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs to $200 for seniors on Medicare, cap out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs to $250 on the public insurance plan that we will offer under Medicare for All Who Want It, and make copayments zero for low-income people buying generic drugs on a public plan. We will empower the government to negotiate directly with insurance companies to lower prices, starting with critical drugs like insulin and mental health medications. We will also penalize pharmaceutical companies for raising prices by more than inflation.
(a) Do you support closing the carried interest loophole?
Yes I fully support closing the carried interest loophole.
(b) Do you support the Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2019 (H.R.2923/S.1587)?
Yes, I support the Inclusive Prosperity Act. The financial system should help drive growth in the real economy. However, as we have seen in the 12 years after the financial crisis, this link is broken. Wall Street is thriving as most Americans are still struggling. The stock market may be at record highs, but wages are still flat. Families are burdened by growing debt, including enormous student loan and credit card debt, and homeownership still has not recovered from the financial crisis. As finance salaries and bonuses balloon to new highs, 25% of adults have no retirement savings at all.
That is why I support legislation that would stop banks and hedge funds from gambling with Americans’ savings by imposing a 0.1% financial transactions tax. This modest tax on will reduce volatility in financial markets, reorient the financial system toward productive investments and away from speculative trading, and stop predatory high-frequency trading tactics that cost pension funds billions of dollars.
(c) Do you support The Reward Work Act (H.R. 3355/S. 915)?
The current trend in stock buybacks is troubling. I will work to repeal the 1982 SEC rule that gives stock buybacks a safe harbor, which has helped fuel the surge in buybacks, and we must stop corporate insiders trying to cash in by selling their shares right after a stock buyback is announced. I will also raise capital gains taxes so that income from buybacks no longer enjoys a big tax break relative to income from work. Not only that, but companies used Trump’s corporate tax cut for buybacks instead of investing in workers. I will roll back that corporate tax cut so that we can make the big investments we need in working and middle class families – from health care to child care to affordable prescription drugs to debt-free college. And I support policies that push companies to invest in their workers and equipment, such as long-overdue rules on executive compensation and cracking down on market manipulation.
(d) Do you support ending “Too Big to Fail” by breaking up the Wall Street mega banks and separating depository banking from risky investment banking?
We must stop “Too Big to Fail” and stop banks shifting the risks of their bet on to the American people. I have proposed a Big Banks Risk Fee that would make it more expensive for banks to be big and risky and would make them pre-pay for the risks they place on the system. I have also proposed a financial transactions tax that will curb risky behavior. These two proposals will curb risky banking and raise nearly a trillion dollars to help fund my bold progressive agenda. Moreover, the federal government must use its authority to shrink large and complex mega-banks that are poorly managed and repeatedly break the rules. Finally, we need to stop bank mergers that increase risk in the financial system.
(e) Do you support ending predatory lending and expanding access to fair consumer banking services through “a public option” like public banks or postal banking?
Yes, predatory lending is a scourge, and I support expanding access to fair consumer banking services through public options. Every American has a right to a safe and affordable bank account to save, pay bills, and transact.
(f) Will you defend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from any corporate-sponsored attacks and use your platform and influence to strengthen the Bureau and empower it to further protect consumers?
Yes, I will tirelessly defend the CFPB and empower it to protect consumers. The CFPB was created as an independent watchdog, policing Wall Street to protect consumers, students, soldiers, homeowners, retirees, and seniors. But under the Trump administration it seems to be doing more to protect predatory actors than consumers. The CFPB has gutted rules to stop payday lending abuses and prevent people from falling into endless debt traps. Enforcement orders plummeted in the last couple of years, and the CFPB has pulled back from protecting consumers from discrimination. Under Director Kraninger, the CFPB has filed only one fair lending enforcement case and referred zero violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to the Department of Justice.
As President, I will undo the efforts of the Trump administration to hamstring the CFPB. I will nominate a CFPB director who is committed to carrying out the agency’s statutory mandate to protect consumers, including someone committed to strengthening the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity. I will re-establish the Office of Students and Young Consumers to protect student borrowers and ensure the CFPB is supervising lenders for compliance with the Military Lending Act, which the Trump CFPB has stopped doing.
(g) Do you support the Stop Wall Street Looting Act?
I support the majority of the provisions in this bill so that we can crack down on abusive practices in private equity, strengthen worker protections after bankruptcy, reduce risk, and collect more taxes from the rich. There is some concern that a couple rules as written could backfire for some workers, which I would study closely as president.
President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided huge tax breaks to the super-wealthy, major corporations, and companies that moves money and jobs overseas. Corporations have already used over $1 trillion of money provided by those tax cuts for stock buybacks, instead of making productive investments or benefiting their workers.
(h) How will you restore fairness to our tax system? Will you roll back President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?
Yes, I will roll back President Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and the top 2% richest Americans. In fact I will go much, much further. I will levy nearly a trillion dollars of tax increases on Wall Street. I will crack down on offshore tax havens to curb offshoring and raise tax revenue so we can invest in the working and middle class. I will raise taxes on the income from wealth so that the tax system stops rewarding wealth over work. Restoring tax fairness will fund the critical investments our country needs.
(a) Will you ensure that any free trade agreements advanced during your administration include strong, enforceable labor and environmental protections?
Yes, I will hold our trade agreements to a high bar when it comes to strong, enforceable labor and environment protections. Trade agreements must not create a race to the bottom that harms U.S. jobs and undermines our environmental progress as multinational corporations chase low labor and environmental standards around the world. We also cannot continue to waste the opportunity to leverage trade policy in the fight against climate change. It is not enough that our trade agreements have higher standards; they must also have real enforceability. I will ensure that U.S. trade agreements have both.
(b) Will you support ensuring that countries come into compliance with basic standards protecting worker rights, the environment, and human rights before Congress votes on a trade agreement with those countries?
I support ensuring that countries meet basic labor, environment, and human rights standards before we enter into a new trade agreement. We cannot reward countries that allow forced or child labor, tolerate pollution and illegal deforestation, or persecute their citizens for their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or gender, by granting preferential access to our markets without preconditions. Our trade agreements may have higher standards that countries should meet over time, but I support setting basic standards for entering into a new agreement. I also support reconsidering trade agreements periodically to ensure that our trading partners are truly living up to their commitments.
(c) Will you remove harmful Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions from any future or renegotiated trade agreements?
Yes, under my administration, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) will be a relic of the past. Multinational corporations have used ISDS to fight legitimate public interest laws and regulations in the countries in which they have invested. The United States is not immune to ISDS challenges. I have an ambitious agenda to protect labor unions, increase workers’ rights, fight climate change, and expand access to health care–I cannot allow these initiatives to be vulnerable to ISDS challenges from those that seek to protect their profits at the expense of the public interest and the interest of workers.
(d) Will you ensure that any future trade agreements do not include any provisions that would interfere with efforts to protect data security and privacy for U.S. consumers or to protect high-quality customer service call-center jobs?
Yes, I will ensure that any future trade agreements protect the privacy of Americans, and will work to protect high-quality customer service call-center jobs.
My Internet for All plan will protect high-quality customer service call jobs by investing in the workers who will extend broadband further and faster throughout the country, and by extension enable U.S. contact centers to create jobs in new parts of the country. As high-speed broadband moves further into the heartland of America, broadband is enabling contact centers to locate in areas that need jobs and have a ready talent pool. Broadband-enabled technologies are also transforming the way contact centers operate, the way people receive customer service, and where those jobs can be located–enabling those customer service jobs that were at one time shipped overseas to be brought home.
Regarding privacy, our first step should be to provide all Americans with strong privacy and data security protections, wholly apart from any trade agreements. That is why I will push for and sign legislation that will impose stringent new comprehensive federal privacy protections to establish comprehensive, enforceable, effective and strong consumer privacy protections that puts affirmative obligations on companies to limit what they do with our data and ensures our information is protected. Building on those strong protections, we will ensure that any future trade agreements include provisions to protect the privacy of Americans.
(a) Will you support repealing the Federal Communications Commission’s dangerous One Touch, Make Ready rule, which undermines consumer outcomes and worker safety, while also interfering with fairly negotiated collective bargaining agreements?
I will appoint smart, capable and forward looking FCC Commissioners who will review and reverse problematic FCC decisions from the Trump FCC. We must ensure that we not only lead the world in the technologies of the future, but do so in a way that supports the workers who climb our poles, lay our fiber, and build our broadband infrastructure. I support increasing investments in broadband through my $80 billion Internet for All initiative, which will result in new pole work done by skilled employees, who know the equipment, have extensive training, and can ensure that pole attachments can be implemented safely.
(b) How will your administration ensure that broadband access is extended to underserved communities across the country? How will you ensure that federal funds utilized in this work protect good, family-supporting jobs?
Broadband is one of the most transformative technologies of our time, and is a powerful driver of job creation and economic growth. Broadband empowers us all, by giving us access to education and job opportunities, by connecting us in new ways, by giving us new voices, by allowing us to learn in ways that we never imagined, and by enabling new technologies that help us stay safe. In addition to the jobs supported by broadband deployment, broadband leads to transformational job creation and growth by increasing business productivity, spurring upstream investment, and contributing to the generation of entirely new industries. Broadband’s ability to enable new businesses and industries is its most important transformational effect.
My plan will ensure ubiquitous high-speed broadband coverage through an $80 billion Internet for All initiative that will expand meaningful access to unserved and underserved communities. Through this plan, we will foster private sector broadband competition and new network investment. Where the market does not deliver affordable broadband, we will expand broadband access to homes, anchor institutions, and small businesses by providing capital investments and necessary tools to communities and broadband providers. I will strengthen the Lifeline program so that cost is not a barrier to Internet access.
I support strong oversight over the use of federal funds to ensure recipients comply with all laws, regulations, and policies that aim to protect fair labor practices.
(c) Do you support H.R. 530, the Accelerating Broadband Development by Empowering Local Communities Act to ensure that localities are able to guide successful deployment of small cell technology?
I support legislative and other efforts to accelerate broadband deployment and to empower community based solutions to small cell deployments. I will work with localities to facilitate the deployment of 5G infrastructure by combining local input with uniform model agreements that enable streamlined access to city-owned poles, conduits, and rights of way, combined with new commitments to ensure everyone benefits. By doing so, and by leveraging my Internet for All Initiative, we will ensure that workers, families, communities and businesses benefit from the most advanced wireless infrastructure in the world. Communities will play a very important role in deploying infrastructure throughout our country. I therefore will create a Broadband Innovation Incubator office within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), charged with deploying best practices, technical assistance, and startup funding for small community-based networks.
(d) Given the legacy of family-supporting union jobs in the wireline telecommunications industry, as well as in certain segments of the wireless industry, how will you ensure that your telecommunications policy supports continued high-quality jobs in the sector?
Promoting overall economic growth through competition along with support for unions and minimum wages is the best way to ensure benefits to all parts of the sector, from unions to consumers. Working with advances in technology and using it to promote a strong economy is the best way for America to lead and thrive. Not only, my Empowering Workers plan sets a high bar for labor treatment throughout the economy, ensuring that new companies and industries do not gain an unfair advantage by cheating labor regulations and squeezing wages.
(a) Do you support comprehensive immigration reform that will grant lawful status to individuals eligible for DACA/DAPA and TPS and includes strong protections to prevent exploitation of immigrant workers?
Yes. We must create a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States, including Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders. The vast majority of Americans agree this should happen, but because politicians in Washington have focused more on fighting with each other than fighting to make the lives of millions of people better, it has not gotten done. That is why my first priority is to fix our democracy. After that, we can pass legislation that reflects the will of the American people by creating a path to citizenship. I will also protect undocumented workers from retaliation when reporting labor violations and ensure visa portability. I will also propose reforms to temporary work visas so that workers can move to another employer in their industry and keep their visa.
(b) Do you pledge to oppose any form of workplace discrimination against LGBTQ workers, in all industries?
Yes. I will press for and sign the Equality Act into law as soon as it hits my desk, making anti-discrimination the law of the land, and rescind the Trump administration’s efforts to strip protections against discrimination for LGBTQ+ Americans. My administration will immediately restore administrative regulations, guidance, and interpretations of federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.