What's at Stake
Unions for All
We believe that joining together in unions is the best way for working people of all races and backgrounds to build and hold power. Nearly all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates support raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, but we need them to think bigger than that if we want to truly shift the balance of power away from corporations and toward working people. That’s why we’re calling on every presidential candidate to commit to do these four things:
Bring employers, workers and government together at industry-wide bargaining tables to negotiate wages, benefits, and working conditions.
Put good union jobs at the center of any major economic proposal, such as Healthcare for All or the Green New Deal.
Ensure that every public dollar is used to create good, union jobs and that every federal worker and contractor makes at least $15 an hour and has the opportunity to join a union.
Establish the NLRA as the floor rather than the ceiling for laws governing worker organizing, allowing states and cities to empower workers to join together in a union beyond the limits of federal law.
Donald Trump is the most anti-worker President of our lifetime. He appointed the Supreme Court Justice that provided the deciding vote in the Janus vs. AFSCME decision, a devastating attack on working people and unions that Trump celebrated. His agencies have been relentlessly attacking workers’ rights to organize, speak up at work, and receive fair pay and benefits. President Trump’s administration:
Issued a rule stripping away $1.4 billion in overtime pay gains from 8.2 million workers
Issued Executive Orders attacking the collective bargaining rights of federal employees
Issued a rule attacking roughly 800,000 home care workers’ ability to use common paycheck deductions for health insurance contributions, union dues, and other expenses.
Rushed to stop a lawsuit against McDonalds for retaliatory firings, giving McDonalds the settlement that it wanted without holding it responsible as an employer of its franchisees’ workers (and one of the Trump appointees that approved the settlement previously worked for a law firm that McDonalds hired to advise its franchises about Fight for $15 organizing).
Trump appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members that have systematically attacked workers’ union rights. The Trump NLRB has issued decisions that allow companies to: (a) fire their workers for protesting sexual harassment because of workers’ limited, peaceful communication with other companies at the same location, (b) fire workers for striking too frequently, (c) misclassify workers as independent contractors.
The Trump Board has also issued or proposed new regulations that would: (a) allow large corporations that indirectly control workers’ jobs to escape their responsibility to collectively bargain with workers, (b) strip certain student-workers of their right to join a union and allow their employers to fire them for trying, (c) deliberately slow down the union election process and allow employers to delay union elections by instigating unnecessary pre-election litigation.
We need national leadership committed to unrigging the rules and making it easier for working people to join together in unions. That’s how we will achieve equal pay and protection for everyone – no matter your gender, race, or who you love – and ensure all working people are paid at least $15 an hour.
Environmental Justice and Climate Change
We believe our lives and our planet are inextricably bound together. As climate disasters such as hurricanes, flooding and wildfires continue to grow in strength and frequency, and as public health is threatened by growing levels of toxic levels of pollutants in our air and water, we must take urgent action on climate change.
President Trump has enacted policies that harm the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the environment we all depend upon. As SEIU members know well from our experience in our own communities, climate change disproportionately affects working people, the poor, and people of color. As president, Trump:
Pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, an international commitment to halt climate change, killing the creation of new industries and jobs that could give communities the boost they need to thrive in favor of corporate polluters.
Unraveled environmental protections that protect our air, our water, endangered species, and public lands – such as the Clean Power Plan – while proposing cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent.
Weakened accountability for corporations responsible for rampant pollution.
We need national leadership committed to combating climate change in a way that protects our planet, raises standards for working people, and addresses the needs of low income communities and people of color who are most impacted.
America will be a more prosperous, unified, and secure place to live when all of us – regardless of our country of origin, the color of our skin, or religion – are safe, free and treated with respect.
Trump has made the divisive politics of immigrant exclusion and deportation a centerpiece of his presidency. He has painted immigrants as criminals and implemented cruel and inhumane policies in an effort to confuse us into thinking that immigrant families are to blame for our country’s problems and to keep working people divided. President Trump has:
Jailed and mistreated immigrants – including children – seeking asylum from violence and separated immigrant children from their parents.
Obsessively pursued construction of a wall at the Mexican border that he claims would prevent people from entering the country illegally – despite overwhelming evidence that this enormously costly approach will do little to deter future immigration.
Attempted to end both the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects DREAMers and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of families from countries embroiled in wars or facing natural disasters. These programs remain in place, but only because of temporary court decisions.
Attempted to limit legal immigration and access to other immigration benefits, like citizenship.
We need national leadership committed to common sense immigration reform that will eliminate harmful barriers facing people who have moved here and make it easier for all working people to join together – regardless of where we were born – to improve our lives.
Everyone in America – no matter your race, where you were born, or how much money you have – should have guaranteed access to quality, affordable healthcare and long term care. And healthcare jobs should be good, union jobs.
President Trump has vowed to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and end Medicaid as we know it.
The Trump administration:
Continually tried to destroy the Affordable Care Act and has taken steps to weaken the law that have driven up the cost of coverage, undermined protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and made it harder for people to access care.
Attacked health coverage for immigrants, rolled back important protections against discrimination for the LGBTQ community, and cut access to birth control.
Proposed radically reducing the Medicaid program and cutting funding for Medicare.
We need national leadership to expand access to affordable healthcare, make long-term care more affordable and accessible, and support the creation and expansion of good union jobs for healthcare workers so they can deliver quality services.
We believe that all working people should be able to retire with dignity. Everyone should have access to a retirement savings plan at work and all working people should be covered by Social Security, including people who provide homecare and other jobs that have often been excluded.
President Trump promised to protect retirement security for working people but instead he has pushed for:
Cutting Social Security benefits for disabled children and adults by $45 billion
Reducing retirement benefits for 2 million federal employees
Eliminating pension benefits for new federal employees and instituting a defined contribution plan that provides significantly lower retirement benefits
Opposing the efforts by states to help more workers save for retirement
We need national leadership to strengthen Social Security, shore up pension benefits, and expand access to workplace-based retirement savings plans so all working people can retire with dignity.
We all want to be healthy and safe, live free and happy lives with dignity and prosperity--no matter who we are or the color of our skin. But too many of our families--Black, brown and immigrant-- are denied these things we all deserve. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the deep cracks and divides that have long existed in America’s economy and democracy. Until Black communities and other communities of color can thrive, none of our communities can truly thrive. That’s why we’ve committed to supporting the Movement for Black Lives’ demands for racial and economic justice and are calling on every presidential candidate to take action to:
Invest in and build Black communities.
Hold corporations accountable for investing in communities of color.
Divest from and demilitarize the police.
Reimagine the role of police and the criminal justice system.
Provide immediate relief for Black communities that are hit hardest by the public health and economic crises arising from the pandemic.
Donald Trump has a long history of making racist statements about people of color, Native Americans and people from other countries--and of making statements supporting white supremacists. He also has a history of discriminating against people of color before he ran for office and through the policies he has supported as President. Trump has:
Referred to Haiti and African countries as “shithole” countries and complained that, after seeing America, immigrants from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts.”
Said that there were "very fine people on both sides" in reference to neo-Nazis and white supremacists who held a protest in Charlottesville - and counter protestors standing up for racial equity. One of the white supremacists ran into counter-protestors with his car, killing Heather Heyer and seriously injuring many others.
Referred to people protesting against racial injustice and violence in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others as "thugs."
Has used the FBI to target activists speaking out for racial justice, while downplaying violent attacks by white nationalists.
Issued a Muslim Ban, curbing immigration from majority-Muslim countries and four African countries.
Referred to Mexicans as rapists, drug dealers and criminals and detained record numbers of people seeking to immigrate to the U.S.--including infants and children--in prison-like settings.
Used racial slurs to describe the coronavirus, stoking anti-Asian sentiment. Subsequently, hate crimes against Asian Americans have increased.
Before he became president, was sued by the Justice Department for his companies’ policy that directed employees to tell Black lease applicants that there were no apartments available in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
We need national leadership that recognizes the divides that have always existed in our country and is committed to uniting us across race to address them. We need a president who will lead a government that works for all of us--no matter who we are or where we come from--and a country where everyone can be safe, free and prosper--whether Black, white, brown, Asian or immigrant.
Joe Biden is committed to rooting out structural racism across our laws and institutions and ensuring people of color have a real shot to get ahead. He has pledged to:
Support major police reform legislation and tie federal funding of police departments to police conduct. Biden supports efforts to change the role of police in our communities--who often respond to mental health, substance abuse and homelessness crises--that would be better addressed by others.
Reduce the number of people incarcerated, focus on rehabilitation, and eliminate criminal justice disparities based on race, gender, and income.
Eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white school districts and make college affordable for students of color.
Ensure formerly incarcerated people can fully participate in society, including access to public assistance and voting rights.
Restore enforcement measures in the Affordable Care Act, which makes it unlawful for any health care provider who receives funding from the federal government to refuse to treat an individual—or to otherwise discriminate against the individual—based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Combat high maternal mortality rates among Black women nationally using the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) model, which has used research quality improvement toolkits, state-wide outreach collaboratives and its innovative Maternal Data Center to improve health outcomes for mothers and infants.
Enact policies that advance the economic mobility of people of color and close the racial wealth and income gaps, such as increasing black homeownership, increasing social security benefits, making it easier to join a union, and reforming unemployment insurance so that more employers participate in work-share programs during the recession.
Support equal pay and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and extend the right to join together in a union to thousands of working people who have previously been excluded by outdated and unfair laws. People excluded from unions by outdated laws are disproportionately people of color.
Make the right to vote, civil rights and the right to equal protection real for African Americans and all people of color.
Address environmental justice, recognizing that the environmental burdens and benefits have been distributed unevenly along racial and socioeconomic lines – not just with respect to climate change, but also pollution of our air, water, and land.
Support fair and humane immigration reform that welcomes immigrants in our communities, helps to grow and enhance our economy, and safeguards our security.