Election night returns show Democratic path to victory for future years will hinge increasingly on action for economic justice issues for the working class
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The success of Democrats in avoiding the sweeping GOP “red wave” predicted in the midterm elections reflects the leadership of Democrats on key worker rights issues, and Democratic candidates’ commitment to passing pro-worker legislation like the historic Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The results match with recent Worker Power Coalition polling which revealed that voters in battleground states, particularly young voters, want Congress to take more action to improve worker rights – a clear indication of the need for Democrats to continue taking actionable steps to advance protections for Americans in the workplace.
As the country continues to experience the highest levels of union activism and enthusiasm in decades amidst high profile organizing campaigns at Starbucks, Amazon, and more, the path to victory for Democrats in Congress hinges on catching up to the energy their base has on these issues with concrete policy actions. Democratic candidates who ran on platforms centered around pro-worker policies won in competitive races across the country – including John Fetterman and Summer Lee in Pennsylvania, Maxwell Frost in Florida, Delia Ramirez in Illinois, and Greg Casar in Texas. Pro-worker ballot measures for minimum wage increases also won in Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington, D.C., and a worker rights measure in Illinois further underscored the power of labor as an issue for Democratic voter turnout. Michigan Democrats ran on a pro-worker agenda and won back control of the state legislature for the first time in nearly 40 years, paving the way to strengthen worker rights by repealing the state’s anti-union “right-to-work” law.
The American people understand that the economy in this country is rigged against them. If Democrats don’t embrace pro-worker economic fairness as a central plank of their battleground messaging and legislative agenda, they will face an even tougher electoral map in 2024.
Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Over the past few months, working people who have been organizing on the job to join unions mobilized in their communities alongside other union members to elect candidates who share our democratic values. These workers have shown the country that our labor laws are broken and that we must join together to reign in the power that corporations have over too many aspects of our lives. The Biden Administration is focused on rebuilding the middle class by removing barriers to union membership. Now, Congressional Democrats must take up that mantle and continue to rebuild the trust of middle class voters by passing popular, pro-worker policies like those in the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.”
Jimmy Williams, IUPAT General President; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Throughout this year, workers are organizing at historic levels to fight for a seat at the table – not only in the halls of Congress, but also in the bosses’ office. With giant corporations spending millions to stop workers from exercising their right to form a union and radical politicians attacking the very foundations of our democracy, now is the time for Democrats to continue to deliver on their promises to level the playing field. Working people are on the move, and if Democrats want to cement their identity as the party of the working class, now is the time to prove it.”
Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement Executive Director; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “We know that a green just economy is the only future our world survives in, and that an intersectional, sustainable economic platform is one that serves the poor, the working class, the underprivileged. Democratic candidates who won on Tuesday ran on a platform that puts climate and economic justice first. With control of Congress on the line, Democrats must fully embrace the Green New Deal to power our fight against climate change by strengthening worker rights and creating the green union jobs our economy and communities need.”
Nelini Stamp, Working Families Party Director of Strategy; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Americans know that the economy in this country is rigged against them, and that is why Democrats who ran on a pro-worker agenda won in so many battleground races on Tuesday. But with many races still too close to call, it is clear that much more must be done by Democrats to demonstrate their commitment to the millions of American workers who made their voices heard in this election. If Democrats do not embrace pro-worker economic fairness as a central plank of their legislative agenda in Congress, you can bet they will face an even tougher election map in 2024.”
Sydney Ghazarian, Democratic Socialists of America, National Political Committee Member; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “Labor union organizing is surging across the country, and worker unions are currently more popular than they have been in 50 years. Any party seeking to win an election right now must center a clear, concise vision of change that will transfer power out of the hands of corporate oligarchs and back into the hands of working people. No matter who controls Congress next year, voters will be watching to see which party steps up with an agenda that promises bold action to dismantle the decades of unjust laws rigging the economy against us.”
Leah Greenberg, Indivisible Co-Executive Director; Worker Power Coalition Steering Committee Member: “People know that big corporations are rigging the rules of the economy to squeeze more and more out of them, and they want political leaders who will forcefully stand on their side. With control of Congress hanging by a thread as final votes are counted, it is clear that for Democrats to build a majority-winning coalition, they must continue to embrace an economic policy platform that centers the hardships working people experience – and champion legislation like the PRO Act to finally unrig our system. ”
The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively. Learn more at PassThePROAct.Org.