The American dream that I grew up learning about was one where people could work their hardest and get ahead. Hard work was the quintessential American trait, and that work caused the middle class in this country to boom. Sadly the American middle class is almost non-existent now, more than half the country can't afford a $500 emergency and we can't tackle that problem until we talk about the injustices in the American workplace.
The minimum wage needs to be a living wage. We need to make sure that Americans don't have to be working two or three jobs in order to make ends meet. I applaud the effort of the activists and organizers in New York who made the increase to a $15/hour minimum wage possible, and we need to make sure that people all over the country are allowed to make the same wage.
Paying interns. Unpaid internships and fellowships are absolutely unacceptable. Offering unpaid internships severely limits the pool of applicants to only those who are already wealthy or well-connected and it disadvantages those who are unable to take on the workload of a full-time job without any pay, this makes it particularly difficult for young people, people of color, women, and those who do not come from the wealthiest among us to even consider unpaid internships. The Democratic party and Democrats in Congress and all over the country need to lead on this issue and pay their interns, the ones who work on campaigns and the ones who work in the offices of DC.
Unions are the backbone of a healthy workforce. When I was in North Carolina working for the Democratic party, I helped organize my colleagues into a union and sat at the negotiating table to bargain for better working conditions. I know first-hand how the presence of a union can improve conditions and give workers a voice. Every worker in America should feel empowered to organize into a union and we should work to pass legislation to strengthen the power of unions.
Employee ownership of businesses. As our economy has come back from the recession, it left behind young people in the recovery. We need to encourage employee owned businesses so when business owners retire or wish to change career paths, their employees can continue to carry on the work that they're passionate about. I also support the effort by Senator Elizabeth Warren to mandate federally chartered companies to allow workers to elect 40% of a companies board members.