Elizabeth Warren has a plan for just about everything and the Massachusetts senator and 2020 Democratic primary hopeful released her latest Thursday, a sweeping pro-labor, anti-corporation proposal that would bolster workers’ ability to unionize, collectively bargain and strike if they deem necessary.
Warren released her plan as she was set to appear at an event Friday and Saturday in front of the second-largest union in the country, the Service Employees International Union, along with former Vice President Joe Biden. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also was supposed to appear but had to cancel due to his ongoing health problems.
Sanders’ campaign said Thursday that he will participate in the next Democratic debates.
Warren — who is charging hard at front-running Biden in the latest polls — has positioned herself as a champion for the working class who would love to break up big banks and big tech companies. The Massachusetts senator would love to have the backing of big labor unions — their funds, votes and workers’ boots on the ground campaigning for her.
Per Bloomberg, a couple unions have already picked their endorsements, including the 15,000-member National Union of Healthcare Workers in California, which backed both Warren and Sanders last month in a co-endorsement. The biggest unions have yet to pick their candidates and will wait until the large field of Democratic hopefuls is pared down a bit.
Warren’s plan is a big selling point for unions who want to see states’ and companies’ power to reign them in diminished.
Of course, Warren provided no details on how her Medicare for All plan would affect union members by replacing their private health care with government-run and taxpayer-funded health care, which is one of the centerpieces of her campaign.
Medicare for All would end private insurance, which Biden has come out against.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in July that “we would like to see universal health care, (but) we want to make sure that there is a role for employer-bargained plans in that plan.”
Warren said she would “work closely with unions and multi-employer health insurance funds to protect the gains they have made.”
Warren’s plan also would extend labor rights to workers who are currently excluded, such as farm, domestic and gig workers, and more state government employees and some classified as managers. It will strengthen union leverage by lifting restrictions on protests and boycotts, and let employees sue companies over labor violations rather than just going to the National Labor Relations Board — all of which sounds like the GOP’s worst nightmare were the plan ever to go into effect.
“We cannot have a truly democratic society with so little power in the hands of working people,” Warren said. “We cannot have sustained and inclusive economic growth without a stronger labor movement. That’s why returning power to working people will be the overarching goal of my presidency.”
Her plan would undo much of the Trump administration’s work regarding the rights of sub-contracted staff, home health care workers and federal employees, and would go even further than former President Barack Obama’s policies, including legislation that would ban state’s “right-to-work” laws. It would also require corporations to let workers elect 40% of their board members and mandate that employee schedules be made available two weeks in advance.
Warren also said she would ban “non-compete” clauses that restrict worker mobility.