Joe Biden on Jobs

Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)


Old Rust Belt now revitalizing American manufacturing

There's something happening in America. Just look around and you'll see an amazing story. The rebirth of the pride that comes from stamping products "Made In America." The revitalization of American manufacturing. Companies are choosing to build new factories here, when just a few years ago, they would have built them overseas. As Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says, "It's time to bury the label "Rust Belt." We can end the shutdown of schools and businesses. We have the tools we need. It's time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office. We're doing that here in the federal government. The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person. Our schools are open. Let's keep it that way. Our kids need to be in school.
Source: 2022 State of the Union address , Mar 1, 2022

Strengthen union organizing rules; increase 6% unionization

The Administration strongly supports The PRO Act, Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021, which would protect workers' right to organize a union and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. America was not built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class.

Due to anti-union efforts by many employers for decades, lax enforcement of existing labor laws, and the failure to restore and strengthen labor laws to address the real-world of labor-management relations, only 6.3% percent of private-sector U.S. wage and salary workers were union members in 2020. H.R. 842 would strengthen and protect workers' right to form a union by allowing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to assess penalties on employers who violate workers' right to organize and ensuring that workers who suffer retaliation for exercising these rights receive immediate relief. [See details of H.R. 842]

Source: Statement of 2021 Biden Administration Policy on H.R. 842 , Dec 15, 2021

Federal jobs: let's not just praise them, let's pay them

PROMISE MADE: (JoeBiden.com website): Building back better means an updated social contract that treats American workers as essential at all times, not just times of crisis--with higher wages, stronger benefits, and fair & safe workplaces. Let's not just praise them, let's pay them--a decent wage, at least $15 per hour, and ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.

PROMISE PARTLY KEPT: (WhiteHouse.gov, 4/27/21): This executive order will:

  • Increase the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors to $15.
  • Index the minimum wage after 2022.
  • Eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal contractors by 2024.
  • Ensure a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers with disabilities.

    ANALYSIS:This fulfills the promise as far it can go by executive order. While it will put pressure on the private sector to keep pace, ensuring a $15 wage for non-government contractors would require legislation.]

    Source: Campaign website versus Biden Administration promises , Apr 27, 2021

    Support union organizing at Amazon and elsewhere

    PROMISE MADE: (CNN S.C. Town Hall, Mar 27, 2020): We should make [it] easier to unionize and take on those companies that spend about a billion dollars a year now trying to prevent people from being able to unionize and taking actions that prevents them from being able to do that.

    PROMISE KEPT: (The Hill, Feb. 28, 2021): President Biden offered his support to union organizing efforts as Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse vote on whether to unionize. "I made it clear when I was running that my administration's policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain," Biden said. "I'm keeping that promise. Let me be really clear: it's not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union," he added. "But let me be even more clear: it's not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers--full stop."

    Source: White House press release on Biden Promises , Feb 28, 2021

    No one with a job should be below poverty level

    BIDEN: No one should work one job, be below poverty. People are making six, seven, eight bucks an hour. These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street because they've allowed us to make it. What's happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15. Anything below that puts you below the poverty level. And there is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage, businesses go out of business. That is simply not true.

    Source: Third 2020 Presidential Debate, moderated by Kristen Welker , Oct 22, 2020

    Require federal contractors to buy American products

    We spent $600 billion a year federal money for federal contracts. As president of United States, I've got to make sure they're all those contracts are all products made in America, including the [supply] chain that provides for every one of those products. I'm going to do away with the tax break that the President gave people who send jobs abroad, to make sure that if you in fact, have a contract, if you get taxpayer's money, you must use American products, you must buy American products, and you must not be in a position where you're exporting. We have 25--we have over 50% more people moving jobs overseas as a consequence of these contracts, so it's all backwards. And this is going to provide a lot of good paying jobs for people in the trades.
    Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

    No one should have to work two jobs to get out of poverty

    Q: I work in a cancer center. I make under $15.00 an hour. I'm barely making ends meet. Do you have plans to stand up for healthcare workers?

    BIDEN: The idea you're not making a minimum of $15.00 an hour is wrong. No one should have to work two jobs to get out of poverty. I view this campaign as a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue. All that Trump could see from Park Avenue is Wall Street. We have to make sure healthcare workers are paid a decent wage, and 15 bucks an hour isn't enough.

    Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

    $15 an hour is too little for healthcare workers

    Q: I work in a cancer center. I make under $15.00 an hour. I'm barely making ends meet. Do you have plans to stand up for healthcare workers?

    BIDEN: The idea you're not making a minimum of $15.00 an hour is wrong. No one should have to work two jobs to get out of poverty. I view this campaign as a campaign between Scranton and Park Avenue. All that Trump could see from Park Avenue is Wall Street. We have to make sure healthcare workers are paid a decent wage, and 15 bucks an hour isn't enough.

    Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 drive-in with Anderson Cooper , Sep 17, 2020

    Newly empowered labor unions; equal pay for women

    With child care and elder care that make it possible for parents to go to work and for the elderly to stay in their homes with dignity. With an immigration system that powers our economy and reflects our values. With newly empowered labor unions. With equal pay for women. With rising wages you can raise a family on. Yes, we're going to do more than praise our essential workers. We're finally going to pay them.
    Source: Acceptance speech at 2020 Democratic National Convention , Aug 20, 2020

    Universal paid sick leave' $15 minimum wage; support unions

    I would ensure every worker had paid sick leave and across the board. It should be up to 14 weeks' paid sick leave. The national minimum wage should be $15, but that's not nearly enough. We should make [it] easier to unionize, and take on those companies that spend about a billion dollars a year now trying to prevent people from being able to unionize and taking actions that prevents them from being able to do that.
    Source: CNN S.C. Town Hall amid 2020 primaries , Mar 27, 2020

    I supported $15 minimum wage in NYC years ago

    Bernie Sanders: What leadership is about, is going forward when it's not popular, when it's an idea that you get criticized for. So I'm proud of my leadership on many issues. Joe, since the campaign, has come around. I talked about raising that minimum wage 15-bucks-an-hour, four years ago, Joe.

    Biden: So did I, and I went out and campaigned for it.

    Sanders: $15 an hour?

    Biden: $15 an hour, in New York City. Go to the Governor. You should be aware of it.

    Sanders: I will talk to the Governor. I am not aware of it. Four years ago, it was a radical idea. Very few people in Congress were talking about it.

    FactCheck by PolitiFact:Biden is right about his efforts in NYC. In 2015, Biden campaigned with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo to boost NY's minimum wage to $15 per hour. Biden spoke for nearly 30 minutes and called "stagnant wages" the biggest issue facing the economy. Cuomo eventually signed legislation to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 for all New Yorkers.

    Source: PolitiFact FactCheck on 11th Democratic 2020 primary debate , Mar 16, 2020

    Working on climate change can create 10 million jobs

    This is an enormous opportunity. We can create over 10 million jobs that are making $25 bucks an hour. If we are able to move in a direction that we have 500,000 charging stations for electric vehicles, what does that do? Well, that gives us a corner on the electric vehicle market. That will create thousands of good jobs in the automobile industry. We will own the market.
    Source: Climate Crisis Town Hall (CNN 2019 Democratic primary) , Sep 4, 2019

    We need "moral capitalism" and corporate responsibility

    Biden pointed out that the gap between the wealth of the top one percent and the rest of America is bigger than any time since before 1920. "There's no excuse for this," Biden said. "What happened to a moral responsibility, a moral capitalism?" Biden talked about workers signing contracts with companies that required workers to not discuss their pay. "What possible reason for that can be other than suppressing wages? Give me an explanation," Biden said.
    Source: The Daily Pennsylvanian on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 19, 2019

    Prepare workers for new jobs and they'll support free trade

    What we can do to make up for those losses that occur as a consequence of trade deals is better prepare them for those jobs in the 21st century. What do you guys say to us all the time? I need a better-educated workforce. This is not a hard thing to do. We have to let people know there is something else out there for them. Then you'll get support for the international role that America should play, and trade becomes a different thing.
    Source: Council on Foreign Relations on 2020 candidates , Sep 21, 2016

    Labor unions have built the middle class and built America

    Vice President Joe Biden rallied hundreds of union workers, saying he believes all American workers deserve a "fair share" as corporations grow. Speaking at the annual Labor Day parade in Detroit, Biden lamented average Americans' limited access to fair wages: "A job's about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about your dignity, it's about your place in the community, it's about who you are. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, it's going to be ok.' That's what a job is about," Biden said. "You can't do that unless you get a fair wage."

    During his impassioned address, Biden credited labor unions for building the middle class, and thus "building the United States as we know it. If the middle class is doing fine, everybody does fine," he said. "The wealthy get very wealthy, and the poor have a way up."

    Source: Huffington Post 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 1, 2014

    Match ready-to-work trainees with ready-to-be-filled jobs

    The good news is, we know how to do it. [Entrepreneurs can] dial up what we call an American Job Center--places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job.

    Tonight, I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

    Source: 2014 State of the Union address , Jan 28, 2014

    We can & will get unemployment under 6%

    Q: Can you get unemployment to under 6%, and how long will it take?

    BIDEN: I don't know how long it will take. We can and we will get it under 6%. Let's look at where we were when we came to office. The economy was in free fall. The Great Recession hit. Nine million people lost their job, $1.6 trillion in wealth lost in equity in your homes & in retirement accounts. We knew we had to act for the middle class. We immediately went out and rescued General Motors. Romney said, no, let Detroit go bankrupt. We moved in and helped people refinance their homes. Governor Romney said, no, let foreclosures hit the bottom. But it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the American people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. [Rep. Ryan] recently said 30% of the American people are takers. These people are my mom and dad, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. They pay more effective tax than Governor Romney pays in his federal income tax

    Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 11, 2012

    A job is about more than a paycheck; it's about dignity

    I was a kid, but I can remember the day that my dad sat at the end of my bed, and said, things are going to be tough for a while. I have to go to Delaware to get a new job. But it's going to be better for us. The rest of my life, my dad never failed to remind me--that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It's about dignity. It's about respect. It's about being able to look your children in the eye--and say honey, it's going to be okay, and believe it was going to be okay. When Barack and I were growing up, there was an implicit understanding. If you took responsibility, you'd get a fair shot at a better deal. The values behind that deal--were the values that shaped us both. And today, they are Barack's guiding star.
    Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech , Sep 6, 2012

    We value working class; Republicans value privileged class

    We believe there are clear, stark differences between us and our opponents and what's at stake for the middle class. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich--these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do. Our philosophy is one that values the workers in the success of a business. It values the middle class and the success of our economy.

    Simply stated, we're about promoting the private sector, they're about protecting the privileged sector. We are for a fair shot and a fair shake. They're about no rules, no risks, and no accountability.

    There's no clearer example of these two different views of the economy than how we reacted to the crisis in the automobile industry. It's sort of a cautionary tale of how they would run the government again and the economy again if given a chance.

    Source: Automotive Industry speech in Toledo Ohio , Mar 15, 2012

    No job discrimination by sexual orientation

    Q: Currently, there is no federal law protecting individuals from job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. As president, would you support and work for passage of a federal bill that would prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation an gender identity?

    A: Senator Biden opposes employment discrimination of any kind--including race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. He has consistently supported the Employment Non Discrimination Act to prohibit employment discrimination on basis of sexual orientation.

    Q: Many gay & lesbian people serve in the federal government but do not receive the same health insurance and other employee benefits of married couples. Do you support domestic partner coverage for gay and lesbian employees of the civilian federal workforce?

    A: Senator Biden believes that federal employees in legally recognized, committed relationships should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Source: 2007 HRC/LOGO debate--written questionnaire , Aug 9, 2007

    Implement current recommendations on job safety

    Q: What will you do to improve the health and safety in our coal mines and all of our workplaces across America?

    A: I would implement every one of the recommendations that have been already made and have not been implemented.

    Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

    FactCheck: His AFL-CIO rating of 85% is not best of all Dems

    Sen. Biden claimed to have the best labor record of all the candidates present that evening: Biden said, “Look at our records. There’s no one on this stage, mainly because of my longevity, that has a better labor record than me.”

    Actually, the opposite is true. All the candidates on the stage had a better “lifetime” labor record than Biden, as measured by the AFL-CIO’s ratings of Senate and House votes. The AFL-CIO’s latest listings show Biden voting its way 85% of the time over his entire Senate career--the lowest lifetime rating of all the candidates on the stage that night.

    Despite this, a Biden spokeswoman said, “Sen. Biden enjoys comparable ratings to his opponents during comparable periods of time.” And in any case, the AFL-CIO’s “ratings do not equal a track record of getting legislative & practical results for labor.”

    In 2005 Biden’s record was 93%, Clinton’s 86%, and Obama’s 100%. In 2006 Biden tied Clinton & Obama, with all of them voting with the AFL CIO 93% of the time.

    Source: FactCheck on 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 7, 2007

    Couldn’t afford living at minimum wage; advocates raising it

    Q: If you’re elected to serve as president, would you be willing to do this service for the next four years and be paid the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour?

    A: My net worth is $70,000 to $150,000. That’s what happens you get elected at 29. I couldn’t afford to stay in the Congress for the minimum wage. But if I get a second job, I’d do it.

    Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

    Bush tries to strip away 100 years of labor progress

    Bush is waging a war on labor. There is a middle class in America for only one reason: organized labor. If not for organized labor, where would you find a job where you had some sense that you had a shot of leaving behind something better than you inherited?

    This administration is lined up 10 deep to strip away 100 years of labor progress. They focus on tort reform, court reform, and labor reform--the only three things that stand between the giants & average people. It’s time to say “no more.”

    Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC , Mar 14, 2007

    Joe Biden on Voting Record

    American Jobs Plan is a once-in-a-generation investment

    Throughout our history public investment in infrastructure has literally transformed America. These are investments that only the government was in a position to make. Time and again, they propel us into the future. That's why I propose the American Jobs Plan, a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself. This is the largest jobs plan since World War II. It creates jobs to upgrade our transportation infrastructure, jobs modernizing our roads, bridges, highways.
    Source: 2021 State of the Union address , Apr 28, 2021

    Extended unemployment benefits for COVID, to contractors too

    PROMISE MADE: (2020 campaign website JoeBiden.com): Biden will provide further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities. Biden will extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work.

    PROMISE KEPT: (CNN March 6, 2021): The Senate version calls for providing a $300 federal boost to weekly jobless payments and extending two key pandemic unemployment benefits programs through September 6. The agreement would also make the first $10,200 worth of benefits payments tax-free for households with annual incomes less than $150,000.

    OnTheIssues ANALYSIS: The extended unemployment benefits under previous legislation was scheduled to end in mid-March [and may get extended again beyond September 6]. The unemployment benefit applies to independent contractors, who are normally ineligible for unemployment.

    Source: CNN "Senate stimulus" analysis of 2021 Biden Promises , Mar 6, 2021

    Increase minimum wage gradually

    In 2015, Biden called for a $12 federal minimum wage that would gradually increase to $15 by 2020, even when the Obama administration advocated for a modest uptick of $12 per hour from $7.25.
    Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 25, 2019

    Extending unemployment benefits is the American way

    We've got to extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in a tough economy. Without unemployment benefits, families can't spend on basic necessities that are grown, made, and sold by other Americans.

    Denying two million Americans unemployment insurance will wind up costing us more jobs. It just isn't smart. And, cutting unemployment insurance is not only not smart, it's not right either. It would mean telling millions of our neighbors who are out of work today through no fault of their own, that they're on their own.

    We all know someone who's hit a rough patch. When that happens in America, we help him get back up on his feet. That's who we are. That's the American way.

    So I just don't agree with the folks who've said we can't afford a lifeline for Americans who lost their jobs during the worst recession in generations, but we can afford to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. That's bad economic policy, and it's also just simply wrong.

    Source: Weekly White House Radio address , Dec 4, 2010

    Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill.

    OnTheIssues.org Explanation:This bill was vetoed twice! Congress passed an identical bill in May, which Pres. Bush vetoed. Congress then discovered that a clerical error. A replacement bill was passed; then vetoed again by the President; and this is its "final" veto override.Congressional Summary:Provides for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through FY2012. Revises agricultural and related programs, including provisions respecting:
    1. commodity programs;
    2. conservation;
    3. trade;
    4. nutrition;
    5. credit;
    6. rural development;
    7. research and related matters;
    8. forestry;
    9. energy;
    10. horticulture and organic agriculture;
    11. livestock;
    12. crop insurance and disaster assistance;
    13. socially disadvantaged and limited resource producers; and
    14. miscellaneous programs.
    President's veto message:I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 6124. The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, H.R. 2419, did not include the title III (trade) provisions that are in this bill. In passing H.R. 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on H.R. 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions [but did not].

    This bill lacks fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our trade objectives of securing greater market access for American farmers. [Hence] I must veto H.R. 6124.Proponents argument for voting YEA:We had a meeting this morning with the Secretary of Agriculture to talk about implementation. So [despite the two vetoes], the work has been going on within the department of agriculture to get ready for implementation.

    This is a good bill. It has wide support in the Congress. It does address all of the issues that have been brought to the Agriculture Committee.

    Reference: Veto Override on Food, Conservation, and Energy Act; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-151 on Jun 18, 2008

    Voted NO on terminating legal challenges to English-only job rules.

    CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education's English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program.

    SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ALEXANDER: Let me begin with this story. In March 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two employees in a Boston area thrift store. What had the Salvation Army done to earn this lawsuit from the Federal Government? Well, it had required its employees to speak English on the job. The English rule was clearly posted, and the employees were given a year to learn it. But this lawsuit means that a small business in Missouri would have to hire a lawyer in order to make sure they have a clear business reason to require their employees to speak our common language on the job.

    So I have an amendment to bring some common sense to this subject. It would be to take $670,000 used by the EEOC, which it is using to bring actions against employers who require their employees to speak English.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KENNEDY: Let's look at what the law is and what the Alexander amendment provides. The law currently says that if there is a need to speak English on the job, fine; employers can require that. But employers cannot use English-only rules as an excuse when they want to fire minorities who are performing the job correctly. In this fact situation, those employees had performed the job correctly for 5 years.

    In addition, this amendment reduces the EEOC's ability to fight all forms of discrimination because it cuts the entire budget. That means race, age, religion, and disability cases will be harmed. I hope the amendment will be defeated.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment passed, 54-44

    Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4222 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S058 on Mar 13, 2008

    Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing.

      To enable employees to form & join labor organizations, and to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. Requires investigation that an employer:
      1. discharged or discriminated against an employee to discourage membership in a labor organization;
      2. threatened to discharge employees in the exercise of guaranteed collective bargaining rights; and
      3. adds to remedies for such violations: back pay plus liquidated damages; and additional civil penalties.

      Proponents support voting YES because:

      The principle at stake here is the freedom that all workers should have to organize for better working conditions & fair wages. There are many employers around the country who honor this freedom. Unfortunately, there are also many employers who do not. These employers attempt to prevent workers from unionizing by using tactics that amount to harassment, if not outright firing. In fact, one in five people who try to organize unions are fired. These tactics are already illegal, but the penalties are so minor, they are not effective deterrents.

      Opponents support voting NO because:

      Democracy itself is placed at risk by this bill. The sanctity of the secret ballot is the backbone of our democratic process. Not one voter signed a card to send us here to Congress. None of us sent our campaign workers out to voters' houses armed with candidate information & a stack of authorization cards. No. We trusted democracy. We trusted the voters to cast their ballots like adults, freely, openly, without intimidation, and we live with the results. But here we are, poised to advance legislation to kill a secret ballot process.

      Let's be clear. Every American has the right to organize. No one is debating that. This is a right we believe in so strongly we have codified it and made it possible for workers to do so through a secret ballot.
      Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 51-48 (3/5ths required)

      Reference: Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-227 on Jun 26, 2007

      Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.

      Increase the federal minimum wage to:
      1. $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment;
      2. $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and
      3. $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

      Proponents support voting YES because:

      We have waited for over 10 years to have a clean vote on the minimum wage for the poorest workers in this country Low-wage workers had their wages frozen in time, from 10 years ago, but when they go to the supermarket, the food prices are higher; when they put gasoline in the car, the gasoline prices are higher; when they pay the utility bills, the utility bills are higher; when their kids get sick, the medical bills are higher. All of those things are higher. They are living in 2007, but in their wages they are living in 1997.

      Opponents support voting NO because:

      This bill is marked more by what is not in the bill than what is in it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two-thirds of our Nation's new jobs, and they represent 98% of the new businesses in the US. What protection does this bill provide them? None whatsoever.

      We can do better. In the interest of sending the President a final measure that provides consideration for small businesses and their workers, the very men and women who are responsible for our economy's recent growth and strength, we must do better.

      Reference: Fair Minimum Wage Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2007-042 on Feb 1, 2007

      Voted YES on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25.

      Vote to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour, over a two-year time period, in three incremental stages. Without the amendment, the minimum wage would increase to $6.25 per hour.
      Reference: Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; Bill S AMDT 44 to S 256 ; vote number 2005-26 on Mar 7, 2005

      Voted NO on repealing Clinton's ergonomic rules on repetitive stress.

      Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders
      Reference: Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-15 on Mar 6, 2001

      Voted NO on killing an increase in the minimum wage.

      The Kennedy (D-MA) Amdt would have increased the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years, to $5.65 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2001. The Kennedy Amdt would have also provided $9.5 billion in tax cuts over five years.
      Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
      Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #2751; Bill S. 625 ; vote number 1999-356 on Nov 9, 1999

      Voted NO on allowing workers to choose between overtime & comp-time.

      This bill would have allowed workers to choose between overtime and compensatory time.
      Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
      Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a Committee amdt to S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1997-68 on May 15, 1997

      Voted YES on replacing farm price supports.

      Replaces farm price supports with seven years of annual fixed payments.
      Status: Bill Passed Y)64; N)32; NV)4
      Reference: Agriculture Market Transition Act of 1996; Bill S. 1541 ; vote number 1996-19 on Feb 7, 1996

      Protect overtime pay protections.

      Biden signed a letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor

      To: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao

      Dear Secretary Chao:

      We write to express our serious concerns about the Department's proposed regulation on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These sweeping changes could eliminate overtime pay protections for millions of American workers.

      We urge you not to implement this new regulation that will end overtime protections for those currently eligible. Under current law, the FLSA discourages employers from scheduling overtime by making overtime more expensive. According to a GAO study, employees exempt from overtime pay are twice as likely to work overtime as those covered by the protections. Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before – longer than in any other industrial nation. At least one in five employees now has a work week that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour work week is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs. It is certainly not family friendly to require employees to work more hours for less pay.

      Overtime protections clearly make an immense difference in preserving the 40-hour work week. Millions of employees depend on overtime pay to make ends meet and pay their bills for housing, food, and health care. Overtime pay often constitutes 20-25% of their wages. These workers will face an unfair reduction in their take-home pay if they can no longer receive their overtime pay.

      We urge you not to go forward with any regulation that denies overtime pay protections to any of America's currently eligible hard-working men and women.

      Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor 03-SEN4 on Jun 30, 2003

      Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.

      Biden scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on union issues

      As the federation of America’s unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of America’s workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

      The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

      Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

      Allow an Air Traffic Controller's Union.

      Biden co-sponsored allowing an Air Traffic Controller's Union

      OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Federal Aviation Administration Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006: Prohibits the FAA from implementing any proposed change to the FAA personnel management system in cases where the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service do not lead to an agreement between the Administrator and FAA employees, unless Congress authorizes the change during the 60-day period. Requires binding arbitration if Congress does not enact a bill into law within the 60-day period.

      SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: Because what air traffic controllers do is vital to our safety, I became very concerned by a letter I received from Illinois air traffic controller Michael Hannigan. He wrote that "the air traffic controllers are not being allowed to negotiate in good faith with the FAA."

      What was clear in Michael's plea was the sense that he and his colleagues felt that they were being treated unfairly. I looked into it and came to the conclusion that if we did not restore a fair negotiation procedure, it would threaten agency morale and effectiveness.

      The problem is this: the FAA Administrator currently has the extraordinary authority to impose wages and working conditions on her workers without arbitration. In order to do that, she merely has to declare an impasse in negotiations and if Congress does not stop her from imposing her terms and conditions within 60 days, the Administrator can go ahead and act unilaterally. That authority denies air traffic controllers and all other FAA employees the opportunity to engage in and conclude negotiations in good faith.

      It is in the best interest of the agency and public safety to have management and labor cooperate in contract negotiations.


      LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

      Source: FAA Dispute Resolution Act (S.2201/H.R.4755) 06-S2201 on Jan 26, 2006

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