By Doug Cunningham
[Larry Mishel]: ""If we use our political power we can get the policies that will lift everybody's wages and create a prosperous America for everybody."
Economic Policy Institute President Larry Mishel is urging the Democratic Party to adopt robust economic platform planks that
will really help working people. He says raising wages and beefing up labor standards is essential. He says four things are critical to raising wages across the board for American workers.
[Larry Mishel]: "One is to get full employment and keep it there. Two is to rebuild labor standards. Most prominently the minimum wage, but we need to deal with mis-classification and wage theft, protect the overtime rule - all those sorts of things.
Three, we need to rebuild a system of collective bargaining., But then I'm very dissatisfied with the current system of collective bargaining. I think we have to revise it wholesale and move towards occupational, sectoral bargaining. The fourth part - we have to really think about constraining the growth of incomes at the top. What the top one percent has gained is incomes that otherwise would have flowed to the bottom 99 percent."
Mishel says Democrats have often been too weak when it comes to collective bargaining rights and expanding and modernizing labor standards.
[Larry Mishel]: "It is true that Democrats sometimes have been far too weak in both fighting for higher labor standards, expanding labor standards to include things like sick leave and
family leave and scheduling. And definitely been too weak on making sure that people have a real right to join a union and to engage in collective bargaining.
And that's just a reflection of there's a class struggle within the Democratic Party as well as between the parties."
Mishel says there's actually broad consensus on what America's main economic challenge is. What he's urging Democrats to do is to embrace policy positions that would really fix it.
[Larry Mishel]: "The key economic problem facing America is wage stagnation. It's actually something that is agreed across the
political spectrum. The question is how to we address it? And I was urging the Democratic platform writing committee to tell the narrative of why wages have been suppressed, and how we can attain robust wage growth.
And I think it's important for people to realize that wage stagnation is not because of something that any deity brought to us. It's not abstract forces, but it was policy decisions made by those with the most income, wealth and power over the last forty years. Which means we can reverse it. "