Bloomberg pushes $15 minimum wage in ambitious labor plan

Platform includes gig worker benefits, retirement plan protections

Democrat presidential contender Mike Bloomberg’s campaign released his labor policy goals on Saturday, promising a $15 minimum wage and other concessions for workers.

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Bloomberg’s proposal includes requiring employers to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave and seven days of paid sick leave and proposes strengthening unions by prohibiting “right to work” laws that ban requiring union membership as a condition of employment.

“I started out in an entry-level job, and in building my business, I have always believed that our company’s most valuable asset is our 20,000 employees – and that’s why we are committed to providing good pay and the best benefits money can buy, including industry-leading paid parental leave,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks to supporters Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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The billionaire businessman and presidential candidate also said he would ensure farmworkers and domestic workers — including undocumented employees — would be covered by minimum wage and able to join unions and report labor violations without consequences. So-called “gig workers” would receive full employee benefits that would stay with them when switching jobs, he said.

The policy would set protections for retirement plans, aiming to keep multiemployer pension plans solvent and Social Security benefits paid.

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Jeanette O'Brien, of Burlington, Vt., dances while waiting for Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to arrive at a campaign event, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Bloomberg’s campaign said his plan -- which contains echoes of initiatives from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders -- would raise the bar for working conditions across the country, criticizing President Trump’s economic policies for leaving some workers “shortchanged.”

“Donald Trump inherited his wealth and does nothing but pay lip service to the working people who drive America,” Bloomberg said. “It’s past time to increase wages, guarantee paid leave and make it easier to organize — and, as president, I’ll get it done.”

The campaign released the labor plan on the same day The Washington Post published a story detailing “profane, sexist quotes” attributed to Bloomberg and several lawsuits by women who alleged he had discriminated against them at his company.

Bloomberg tweeted a video in response showing several women who’ve worked for him speaking about their positive experiences.

“I will always be a champion for women in the workplace,” he wrote.

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