Workplace and Income Inequality

Q1: Do you support enacting federal legislation that ensures equal pay for equal work for women?

Clinton:  “I have fought for equal pay for women my entire career, championing legislation in the Senate like the Paycheck Fairness Act and Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and will continue to do so as President. We need to make sure women have the legal tools they need to demand fairness at work, and also real transparency that makes accountability, enforcement, and negotiation possible.”


Sanders: Yes. “It is an outrage that in 2015, women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. Today, African American women earn just 64 cents for every dollar a white male earns, while the figure for Hispanic women is just 54 cents. As President, I would make it a top priority to sign the Paycheck Fairness Act into law and end wage discrimination based on gender.”

Carson: “Laws forbidding discrimination in the workplace already exist.  I believe we must create a workplace that compensates people fairly for the work that they do regardless of gender age or any demographic distinction.”

Q2: Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to at least $15/hour?

Clinton: “We are long overdue in raising the minimum wage. I support Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $12, and that’s just the floor. I also support going higher than the federal minimum wage through state and local efforts, and workers organizing and bargaining for higher wages, such as the Fight for 15 and recent efforts in Los Angeles and New York to raise their minimum wage to $15.”


Sanders: Yes. “It is a national disgrace that millions of full-time workers are living in poverty and millions more are forced to work two or three jobs just to pay their bills. In the year 2015, a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage and must be raised to a living wage. Since 1968, the minimum wage has lost over 30 percent of its purchasing power. That is unacceptable. No American who works 40 hours a week should live in poverty. I have introduced legislation in the Senate to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. This legislation would directly benefit 62 million workers who currently make less than $15 an hour, including over half of African-American workers. As President, I will fight to sign this legislation into law.”

Carson: “We need to have a formula that represents fairness that will reflect market values and business climate.  That business climate should take into consideration industry, employee skills and fair pay standards.  A higher minimum wage hurts young people the most because it’s impractical to hire them at the same price as more experienced workers. This has led to higher unemployment rates for teenagers, particularly black teens, which is not a positive outcome.”

Q3: Do you support applying a cost of living index to the minimum wage that increases wages with rise in the cost of living)?

Clinton: “I have supported Patty Murray and Bobby Scott’s legislation to raise the national minimum wage to $12 per hour, and index the minimum wage to the median wage.

Sanders: Yes. “Without the application of a cost of living index, increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour would only be a temporary solution. The application of a cost of living index would allow the minimum wage to go up without the need for new legislation by Congress. As Congress has allowed eight, sometimes nine years to go between raises in the minimum wage, millions of Americans have been seen their real wages go down while the cost of a college education, prescription drugs, childcare, housing, and other expenses have gone up. Applying a cost of living index would give peace of mind to millions of Americans. It would ensure a dignified living wage, not reliant upon begging future Congresses to raise the minimum wage, and it is the right thing to do.”

Q4: Do you support at least 7 days of paid sick leave for all workers so that they can care for themselves, or a sick family member?

Clinton: “I support at least 7 days of paid sick days for all workers. 

Sanders: Yes. “Compared to other wealthy nations around the world, the United States of America is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers some form of paid sick leave. This is an international disgrace. Every American worker deserves at least seven paid sick days.

“Moreover, every American deserves paid vacation time. Every Americans deserves at least twelve weeks of family and medical leave. As President, I’ll fight to make sure that our workers have the same protections and benefits that are afforded to workers in every other major industrial country.”

Carson: “I support sick leave that reflects real world demands balancing human needs and business operating realities.”

Q5: Do you support up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for workers who need time away from work for their own serious health conditions, including birth or adoption of a child; the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner; or military caregiving purpose?

Clinton: “I support 12 weeks of paid family leave


Sanders: Yes. “When you look at what other wealthy countries are doing, what you find is that the United States of America is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers some form of paid family leave, paid sick time, or paid vacation time. In other words, when it comes to basic workplace protections and family benefits, workers in every other major industrialized country in the world get a better deal than workers in the United States. That is wrong. That is a travesty. And that has got to change.

“With a few of my fellow Senators, we recently introduced a new “family values agenda,” aimed at truly helping American families. Tens of millions of American workers are one illness, injury, or birth of a child away from losing their jobs. Real family values means supporting families when they need it most. Every American worker should have at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. Every American should have at least 7 days paid sick leave. And every American should have at least 10 days of paid vacation. As President, I would work to make this family values agenda a reality and a right of all Americans.”

Carson:  “I support family leave that reflects real world demands balancing human needs and business operating realities. In the Family and Medical Leave Act, the law currently makes accommodations for family leave, which does not preclude businesses from paying its employees for such leave. The objective is to allow people to deal with genuine personal and family needs.  For example, we allow for FMLA, but many human resources policies also allow for workers with long term illnesses to receive donated leave time from co-workers.  This becomes a matter of industry and individual company operating needs and management philosophy.  There is no one formula that is best for all.  We need an environment of collaboration between management and labor that seeks the common good.”

Q6: Do you support collective bargaining and workers’ right to organize on the job?

Clinton:  “The right to organize is one of our most fundamental human rights and yet this right is being chipped away at in our courts and in our political system. I believe that strong unions are critical to a strong American middle class, support collective bargaining and workers’ right to organize, and would oppose a national “right to work” law.

Throughout my career, both through legislation and behind-the-scenes, I have worked to protect workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively for the fair wages and benefits they deserve.

For example, as a Senator, in addition to being an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act, I voted in favor of giving collective bargaining rights to firefighters, police officers, and first responders, and protecting collective bargaining rights for the federal employees being transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security. I am consulting with both labor leaders and labor economists about ways the next president can best support 21st century organizing and collective bargaining.

I have also played an active role in supporting union organizing and bargaining by working to bring people back to the negotiating table and urging them to negotiate in good faith. For example, I signed a public ad in support of the workers at Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville who were trying to organize a union within the facility. Ultimately, the workers won a union and the right to bargain collectively. Throughout my tenure in the Senate, I worked diligently on behalf of New York’s local unions, calling CEOs to push for fair contract negotiations when efforts had stalled. And in 2007, I refused to cross the picket line when the workers at CBS News had been without a contract for almost two and a half years, promising, “I will honor the picket line if the workers at CBS News decide to strike. America’s unions are the backbone of America’s middle class and I will always stand with America’s working men and women in the fight to ensure that they are able to earn a fair wage.”

Sanders: Yes. “Corporate America has led vigorous anti-union campaigns that have made it harder for American workers to collectively bargain for decent wages and benefits. I have a long record of supporting worker friendly policies in Congress. I introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, a comprehensive bill designed to empower unions and make it easier to organize and negotiate with employers. I also voted for the Allowing Collective Bargaining for Public Safety Officers bill, which required the Federal Labor Relations Authority to allow public safety officers to engage in collective bargaining. American workers must always have a fair chance to join a union, and their collective bargaining rights should never be violated. 

Carson: “Collective bargaining should be based upon the needs and demands of the business and community. Historically, many companies like UPS, Starbucks and Virgin Atlantic developed policies that fit their industry and workforce. Many of the information technology and knowledge-driven businesses with significant millennial generation members have created work rules that reflect productivity and industry demands.  There is no one size fits all.”

Q7: Do you agree that there continues to be a need for equal opportunity programs in the workplace, in business and in education to ensure access and equity for people of color and women?

Clinton: “I support equal opportunity programs to open the doors of opportunity in education and in our economy.  As President, I would continue to support strong and sensible federal equal opportunity programs.” 

Sanders: Yes. “Even in 2015, there is still a substantial level of structural and institutional racism that exists in this country. The black unemployment rate has remained roughly twice as high as the white unemployment rate over the last 40 years, regardless of education. As a country, we need to make sure all Americans are economically secure to take risks and realize their full potential. As President, I would invest $5.5 billion into a federally funded youth employment program to create one million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans who face disproportionately high unemployment rates and job training opportunities for hundreds of thousands of young Americans.”

Carson: “Increasing opportunities in the workplace does not rest in creating more laws and programs.  The best results come from fulfilling the principles of fairness that already exist in our Constitution.”

Q8: Do you have a plan to generate jobs?

 Clinton: “As President, I would make investments that drive job creation, productivity and higher wages—including in infrastructure that will put Americans back to work, education from pre-K to college to unlock the potential of every American, and in basic research.

For example, I would increase federal infrastructure funding by $275 billion over a five-year period, fully paying for these investments through business tax reform. According to the White House Council of Economic Advisers, every $1 billion in infrastructure investment creates 13,000 jobs. Moreover, the vast majority of the jobs created by infrastructure investment are good-paying, middle-class jobs—paying above the national median. And beyond creating good-paying jobs today, infrastructure investments promise to enhance the productivity of the American economy tomorrow—helping to boost the incomes of working Americans in the future. Every dollar of infrastructure investment leads to an estimated $1.60 increase in GDP the following year and twice that over the subsequent 20 years.

We need to make it much easier for every American to join and stay in the labor force and find a good job by making quality child care more affordable, and ensuring America is no longer the only developed nation without paid leave, and ensuring that workers are provided with fair schedules, fair wages and overtime pay.  That’s how we will create a full employment economy with a tight labor market that drives rising pay for workers, gives every worker pathways to good jobs, and ensures everyday Americans share in the rewards – not just those at the top.”


Sanders: Yes. “This year, I introduced the Rebuild America Act to invest $1 trillion over 5 years to rebuild and modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, creating and maintaining at least 13 million good-paying jobs while making our country more productive, efficient and safe. The best way to quickly put millions of people to work is to repair our nation’s roads, bridges, dams, wastewater plants, railways, airports and other infrastructure needs. The projects that would be funded by this legislation require new equipment, supplies and services. And, the hard-earned salaries from the jobs created will be spent in countless restaurants, shops and other local businesses. Further, all of this economic activity will generate new tax revenues to pay for the services that Americans expect and deserve. I also proposed the Employ Young Americans Now Act with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to employ one million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24, and to provide job training to hundreds of thousands of others. These acts would be paid for by closing tax loopholes that allow profitable American corporations to stash their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens and closing a loophole that allows Wall Street hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.”

Carson: “I do have a plan to create jobs, which includes a simplified tax code, reduced regulatory burden on businesses, and balancing our federal budget to boost our economic growth. Further, I operate on a philosophy that America’s strengths lie in maximizing her greatest resource, the intellectual curiosity, productivity and can do attitude that has been the hallmark of our nation.  America was able to go from its founding to the pinnacle nation of the world in less than a century because of this can do attitude.”