Cindy Sheehan's Labor Platform

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Cindy Sheehan recognizes the historic significance of unions in building a strong working/middle class in America. Courageous union activists and organizations have brought about the end of child labor and the advent of the 40-hour week, benefits and living wages, among other positive changes.
For more information on Cindy's campaign and to get involved, click here.

Restore Workers' Rights to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to organize unions, bargain freely and strike when necessary is being destroyed by employers and their representatives in government. Today, nearly 1 out of 10 workers involved in union organizing drives is fired illegally by employers who wage a campaign of fear, threats and slick propaganda to keep workers from exercising a genuinely free choice. That is why union membership is declining. And as union membership falls so do the wages of all working people, union and non-union alike.

I support the repeal of all laws that prevent unions from organizing new members and bargaining collectively. All employees of federal, state and local governments must have full collective-bargaining rights.

Repeal Taft-Hartley, Restore the Right to Strike

The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 severely restricts the activities of unions in favor of the employers. It was initially vetoed by then-president Harry Truman (D-Mo.). More Democrats joined Republicans in voting to override the veto than voted against the act. Yet most labor unions and labor leaderships continue to support Democrats.

I will work actively to repeal Taft-Hartley because coming from a working-class background, I believe it is a basic human right to be able to use collective strength and will at the bargaining table as workers need to be protected from the avarice of employers and the government.

The right to strike of all workers in the United states — including local, state and federal employees — is a fundamental principle of the workers' movement that must be safeguarded. The right to withhold one's labor is a basic human right that our government should guarantee to all working people, including to those in the military.

All scabbing must be banned, and no workers should be fired without just cause.

Repeal All "Free Trade" Agreements

Another international and national workers' struggle that I support is the struggle to repeal "free trade" agreements. Such trade treaties are designed to depress wages and oppress workers in every country that are signed parties to these agreements.

Fair trade that respects the rights of workers and enforces these rights through unions and binding collective-bargaining agreements — along with enforceable and sustainable environmental protections — must be put into place. A worker who make shoes, cars or any other goods should receive the same livable pay and benefits in whatever country he or she is employed. Wages and working conditions should be equalized to the highest standards, not the lowest common denominator.

For Single-Payer Healthcare and Affordable Housing

Issues that affect the working-class population of the 8th District and the nation are healthcare and affordable housing. I support H.R. 676, which takes the insurance companies out of the healthcare equation and creates a universal, single-payer healthcare system.

Affordable housing is being destroyed from New Orleans to San Francisco's Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhood — and the resulting gentrification is pushing our neighbors of color out of the city, which threatens the dynamic diversity of San Francisco. The current price of fuel and food makes it difficult for working-class and poor residents to sustain a reasonable standard of living. They must not lose their homes to real estate speculators. Moreover, if one lower-income home is destroyed, it must be replaced with another comparable home.

I support the passage of any bill guaranteeing a one-for-one replacement, and I urge more help for people under a certain income level who are losing their homes and who were victims of predatory lenders. Unemployment benefits and food-stamp benefits should also be extended in this precarious economy.

For Immigrant Workers' Rights

As a person whose ancestors immigrated to the United States from Scotland and Germany to give their families and succeeding generations the opportunity for economic equality, I believe in compassionate and humane treatment of immigrant workers.

Immigrant workers should have the right to join unions regardless of their legal status. All undocumented immigrants, whether employed or not, should have a swift and expedited path to legalization in the form of Green Cards. The Guest Worker programs introduced in recent years with bipartisan support are designed to make indentured servants out of our brothers and sisters from Mexico, Central and South America and to benefit employers unwilling to pay a living wage or benefits to employees.

I oppose the militarization of the border and the funding of ICE and other governmental agencies set up to terrorize immigrant workers, who are driven to the United States by the "free trade" and "structural adjustment" policies implemented by Democrats and Republicans. All these policies are aimed at privatizing the economies of the immigrants' countries of origin in the interests of the multinational corporations. Peasants driven from their lands and workers laid off from their jobs in the public sector or in nationally owned industries are forced to flee to the United States in a desperate quest to feed their families.

For Free and Quality Education

Free and quality education is a basic human right from infants in day care to students in universities. Working parents should be entitled to safe and stimulating day care for their infants and, as in most industrialized countries, university education should be free for those who qualify for and want to avail themselves of it. Until we institute such a program, all university students should be given very liberal repayment terms for their student loans that come with very low interest rates.

In lieu of university education, which not every student qualifies for, or desires, there should be support of apprenticeship programs and state and federal job training for those who want to learn a skill that doesn't involve putting on a U.S. military uniform and learning how to kill other people.

We should bring our troops home from all countries where our troops are deployed to promote occupation, corporate greed and empire.

No Child Left Behind — a Democratic as well as Republican plan — should be repealed, and teachers, schools and school districts should be free to respond to the needs of their classrooms and communities and not be limited to teaching to stringent performance-based tests in order to receive federal money.

NCLB is also a recruiting tool for the U.S. military, as it allows military recruiters into schools and permits the schools to administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which is a military competence test. NCLB does not prepare our children for university. It is aimed at privatizing poorly performing schools while also funneling students directly to the military.

For Job Creation

For decades, making tools of war or paying for wars of aggression has consumed most of our federal budget, many times long after the wars have ended. Little has been invested in the basic infrastructure of our country, where our bridges and levees are failing. Students attend crumbling schools, and there are potholes the size of bathtubs in our roads.

The budget of the Pentagon must be slashed and the trillions of dollars being poured into the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan must end and a federal job-creation program similar to the WPA must be put into place. The workers in these jobs must be paid the prevailing wage, and the jobs must be created in partnership with relevant unions.

Deregulation of airlines, telecommunications, media, energy, banking, insurance and other industries has created a dangerous and unhealthy environment for working people and for our entire society. The deregulation of these industries has allowed the corporate profiteers to destroy proper oversight and health and safety regulations.

Regulate the Media

The deregulation of the media and telecommunications industry has not only cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, it has intensified the monopolization of the media. The media conglomerates (Fox, Murdock, Clear Channel and others) are able to manipulate the media and destroy local programming. This has prevented the public from getting independent news and information, particularly on the effects of deregulation, privatization and war.

I will oppose multiple ownership of newspaper, cable, broadcast, internet and all other media operations.

I will require that all license holders of commercial television and radio stations carry and promote local programming, with stiff penalties, including loss of licenses, if they violate these rules. I also will support revoking their licenses if they have a record of violating local, state and federal labor laws by illegally firing and discriminating against workers for union activities.

I also support federal funding for public labor-community broadcast and internet systems, including Wi-fi and other technologies, to allow the use of these new communication technologies for all working people, especially for low-income workers.

Stop Deregulation and Privatization

The present financial crisis has been fueled by the elimination of all financial regulatory measures, particularly by the repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act (GSA), which in 1933, in the immediate aftermath of the Great Depression, had separated investment and commercial banking activities. The repeal of GSA — which was demanded by the corporate elite — was supported actively by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and other leaders of the Democratic Party.

The Federal Reserve System does not represent consumers, workers or the public. I support elected community-labor boards in which there will be accountability from those running our financial system.

The drive to privatize and contract out jobs is a threat to our workforce. It undermines standards — including the merit system — and has replaced them with nepotism and corruption. It has become a norm today for contractors to pay off Congresspeople to obtain contracts.

I oppose all privatization of federal jobs and will require that all funds disbursed by the federal government go only to government agencies, not to private contractors.

I support the U.S. Postal System and oppose all efforts to privatize it through contracting-out operations, including joint ventures with private corporations. I will support Congressional investigations, with managers and workers placed under oath, to examine the health and safety conditions in the USPS that have led to the "going postal" incidents across the country, including in San Francisco.

I support legislation making it illegal to force workers into jobs with independent contractors in which employers such as FedEx use the "independent contractor" status to prevent unionization and to transfer the costs of unemployment, social security and workers' compensation to the individual worker.

I also will investigate and eliminate the massive cost-shifting by the insurance industry of workers' compensation costs. Millions of injured workers are now forced to go on SSI and State Disability or to publicly funded hospitals, thereby shifting these costs to the state. I will initiate and organize Congressional hearings on these issues and put employers, insurance executives and workers under oath to expose and change these schemes. I also support criminal penalties for the conspiracies to shift such costs to the federal government.

For a National Energy System, For a Mass Transit System

The growing environmental and energy crisis cannot be solved under private ownership of the energy companies. We need a mass transportation system administered by public-labor-community boards throughout the United States.

This will be financed by the nationalization of the oil, gas, and other energy companies — all of which have thwarted mass transportation to keep profits flowing to their corporate stockholders.

The United States must build a system of bullet trains linking all parts of the country. The auto assembly plants could be converted into plants that build the trains and infrastructure needed for transforming qualitatively our energy and transportation systems and for rebuilding our country.

I support federal funding for local community-based solar and wind systems where feasible to provide an alternative to fossil fuels, and will oppose the use and subsidy of nuclear energy. When elected, I will submit legislation that will require that all federal funding of energy projects provide for prevailing wages and allow full unionization of workers.

For Civil Rights and Privacy Protection

I oppose terrorism in the workplace. The constant harassment and discrimination against union members and unorganized workers by the corporations and multinationals who own and control all the wealth in the United States and around the world should not be tolerated.

Workers are subject to heightened discrimination when they are injured on the job. Many injured workers are fired illegally by the employers. The use of the Transport Workers Identification Credentials (TWIC) Act to discriminate against transportation workers with previous criminal records must be stopped.

I am opposed to the organized destruction of our privacy and civil rights. I support the repeal of the so-called "Patriot Act" and other "anti-terrorism" acts that were supported by both the Democratic and Republicans parties — and by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, in particular.

I am committed to defending the right of workers to privacy and condemn spying by employers on their private lives. I oppose the special identity cards for transportation workers and all forms of electronic information-gathering used to discriminate against union organizers, injured workers or workers with disabilities.

I will work to eliminate the massive intrusion into our lives by the drug-testing industry. Using arbitrary drug tests, hundreds of thousands of workers have been fired, and many have suffered retaliation for union activity.

Use of private drug-testing companies should be eliminated. There needs to be strict regulation of any testing of workers on the job.

I oppose the use of criminal drug laws to jail millions of working people. The use of drugs by individuals is a public healthcare problem that will not be resolved by spending billions of dollars on the prison industry. The corporatized and privatized prison industry holds untold numbers of workers who have been incarcerated because of their race, sexual orientation or nationality. This prison system warehouses millions of working men and women for the sake of profits for the prison industry and in repayment for their contributions to the Democratic and Republican parties.

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