Leo Hindery Calls for New Workers’ Manifesto

In an op-ed published on the Huffington Post, Leo Hindery, Chairman of the Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation, delves into what he calls the “political disconnect” between union and non-union workers and the need for political candidates to understand it.

“Aligning politically the interests of workers – all workers,” says Hindery “is one of the most important opportunities for progressive candidates heading into 2012.”

In 2008, Hindery and David Bonior, retired Congressman (D-MI) and now Chair of American Rights at Work, put together a “Labor Manifesto.” According to Hindery, the Manifesto’s motivation was to restore “the perspective that corporate America has equal and concurrent responsibility to shareholders, employees, customers, communities and the nation.”

“Given that the U.S. economy today is actually more ‘jobless’ in real unemployment terms than it was in 2008,” continues Hindery, “and that the wages of the employed remain stagnant — and given [the] passage of the $800 billion-plus tax cut package with its insidious favoritism of the extremely wealthy and the dearth of meaningful job creation over the last two years — how about the following Workers’ Manifesto, which combines the core principles of the 2008 manifesto with the realities of today?”

– An abiding commitment to fair wages, including an increase in the minimum wage, and to benefits for the long-term unemployed.

– Comprehensive labor law reform that will make it easier to: enforce labor standards; rule in favor of workers when management is not negotiating in good faith or is engaging in unfair labor practices; and, through the provisions of a new ‘Employee Free Choice Act’, join the organized labor movement.

– Preservation, without compromise, of Social Security and Medicare, and protection of pension benefits.

– Elimination of the ‘trickle down’ tax policies that since 1980 have been rewarding the extremely wealthy at the expense of 90 percent of America’s workers.

– An abiding commitment to a ‘National Industrial and Manufacturing Policy’ with the medium-term objective of near tripling the percent of workers in the manufacturing sector (from the dismal 9 percent level it is today).

– Trade policies and agreements that put American workers first and provide clear and measurable benefits for American workers.”

For a complete text of Hindery’s op-ed, click here.