For Immediate Release: February 26, 2018
Contact: Lauren Hitt, 443-370-3205, [email protected]com
Randy Bryce Outlines Economic Platform
RACINE, WI – On Monday, as the Supreme Court heard arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case funded by billionaires in order to devastate unions across the country, Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce outlined his economic policy platform in a speech to the Wisconsin Council of Machinists at their statewide convention. A copy of the address is available on his website (link). Bryce serves as the head of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Bryce is running to replace Speaker Paul Ryan as the Congressman for Wisconsin’s First.
Bryce’s platform is also outlined in brief below. For those unable to attend today’s event, several sections include video of Bryce discussing these proposed policy changes.
Pass the Butch Lewis Act. Pensions that hardworking union members have paid into their entire careers are in grave jeopardy. Many retirees have already seen their monthly payments cut by a third or more. The Butch Lewis Act would provide a responsible solution so that the hardworking men and women who responsibly paid into their pension are not forced into poverty.
Pass a Federal Domestic Bill of Rights. All workers should have the right to join a union, but currently a law passed roughly 90 years ago does not allow people who work in the home to organize. These workers, including health aides, care for our families. They have some of the most important jobs in this country, and they should have the right to form a union.
Fully Staff OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was already understaffed before President Trump took office, with just a 2,000 inspectors charged with protecting our entire nation’s workforce. But under the Trump administration, the situation has worsened, with recent reports finding that four percent of the workforce has been reduced. Workers should not have to jeopardize their safety in order to provide for their family. As a Congressman, Randy would work to fully fund OSHA.
Raise the Minimum Wage to $15/hour. No one working full-time should live in poverty. As a Congressman, Randy would support efforts to increase the minimum wage to $15/ hour. Hear Randy discuss more about the minimum wage (video).
Pass the Wage Theft Prevention and Wage Recovery Act. There is not nearly enough recourse for workers who are not paid for their labor, an all too common occurrence in non-union construction and the service industry, especially. The legislation would increase the fiscal penalties for violating wage and hour laws, and business owners found to be stealing from their employers would be required to pay damages.
Pass the Schedules that Work Act. The service economy is growing rapidly, and increasing number of Wisconsin families rely on these jobs to sustain them. It is important as this sector continues to grow that they provide workers with fair working conditions, which includes giving workers advanced notice of when they will be needed for work and how many hours they can expect to work. This lack of information makes it difficult for families to secure safe, reliable childcare or eldercare arrangements, and otherwise places the family in economic strain because they can’t reliably predict their monthly income.
Pass Medicare for All. Our current healthcare system does not work for middle class families. Tied to employment, families can face sudden loss of care if the head of the household loses their job, doubling their economic crisis. And even when families do have insurance, the industry’s for-profit model means families are often faced with inexplicably high drug and test costs. Medicare for All would lower costs for families and businesses by giving the government greater negotiating power with health insurance companies and untying health insurance from employment. Hear Randy talk more about the importance of passing Medicare for All (video).
Pass Paid Medical and Family Leave. Currently, about 15 percent of workers have access to paid leave through their employers. That means the overwhelming majority of Americans and Wisconsites are forced to make enormous financial sacrifices if they want to spend time with their newborn child, care for an ill family member, or recover from an illness themselves. Randy supports the FAMILY Act, which would guarantee nearly all workers 12 weeks of paid medical or family leave. Randy opposes the Republican alternative proposal to support paid medical and family leave by raiding funds that are currently designated to Social Security .
Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work. The pay gap for women and people of color has barely budged in decades. It’s time to take decisive action to correct this disparity. As a Congressman, Randy would support laws that would allow employees to refuse to disclose their current salary when applying for a new job, a question employers often ask to low-ball prospective candidates, which has also been show to perpetuate the pay gap. Randy also supports a minority inclusion provision for the FoxConn project, which would ensure 20% of the total construction cost went to minority and/or women business enterprises; 20% of the total worker hours were performed by minority and/or women workers; and 20% of the total worker hours were performed by minority and or/women apprentices. Hear Randy talk more about the importance of expanding access to the Building Trades (video).
Incentivize Veteran Hiring and Entrepreneurship. Speaker Ryan passed a bill this year repealing the Work Opportunities Credit, a tax credit provided to businesses who hire veterans. While the tax credit was later restored by the Senate, Speaker Ryan and his colleagues disregard for the opportunity this credit provided to veterans is deeply disturbing. As a Congressman, Randy would fight to protect this credit and to provide additional opportunities to veterans who want to start their own business through a dedicated fund of low-interest start-up loans. Hear Randy talk more about his experience working with his fellow vets to transition them back into the civilian workforce (video).
Expand Programs for Workforce Development. Wisconsin workers are facing a time of increasing automation, outsourcing & downsizing of jobs, and contractual employment without benefits. Randy will give high priority to programs financing new enterprises that demand skilled and unskilled human participation. He will support incentives for expanding renewable energy and energy conservation, and he will support or develop other job creating legislation action in areas like: ecosystem restoration, including renewal of degraded forests, lakes, and rivers; and restoration of abandoned industrial, and commercial, and public buildings. An area close to his heart is funding high quality care of the disabled, children, elders, and mentally ill. Finally, he will use his on-the-job experience working with Ironworkers Local 8 to improve workforce development and training in all these areas.
Invest in Traditional and Green Infrastructure. Wisconsin has the worst roads in the Mid-West and nearly the worst roads in the country. The President’s plan to invest in our infrastructure would rely heavily on privatization, increasing tolls and other costs for Wisconsinites, while creating few good, union jobs. Funding our infrastructure is one of government’s most basic responsibilities. Randy supports Senator Sanders $1 trillion infrastructure program — which would expand high-speed Internet, improve road, bridges and water systems as well as increase access to clean energy sources. As an ironworker saw first hand how the expansion of clean energy created more family-sustaining jobs for those in the trades.
Make Permanent the Tax Credits for Middle Income Households. Speaker Ryan has spent a lot of time touting the tax cuts middle class families will receive in his so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” What he consistently fails to mention is that those tax cuts are set to expire in ten years. As Speaker, Randy would lobby to make those tax cuts permanent, while eliminating tax loopholes for corporations and the very wealthy. Hear Randy talk more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (video).
Pass a Financial Transactions Tax. A tax on Wall Street transactions can raise considerable revenue will reducing the risky behavior that has had devastating effects on our nation’s economy in the past, including high speed training and short term financial betting. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, a .1% transaction tax would raise $185 billion over 10 years.
Protect LIHEAP. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income families, the elderly and the disabled pay their heating bills. President Trump has proposed cuts to this program. As a Congressman, Randy will fight to protect this family that helps keep our most vulnerable safe and healthy in their homes.
Protect and Expand Social Security. The Social Security administration is closing offices across the country, including at least one in Wisconsin. As a Congressman, Randy will fight to keep them open so seniors can access the benefits they’ve paid into their entire working lives. Randy will also campaign to increase the FICA cap. The wealthy should pay their fair share in order to make the system more sustainable for everyone.
Renegotiate NAFTA. While Wisconsin dairymen and corn growers have benefited from increased exports due to NAFTA, the auto industry and its workers have suffered serious losses. Car and truck plants and their suppliers have moved to Mexico, stranding a large number of workers and their communities. In renegotiation of NAFTA or creation of new agreements Randy will seek to preserve these benefits to farming and supporting policy that encourage the return of auto and truck manufacturing.
Support Family Farms. Family farms are struggling to survive while government subsidies and support programs usually benefit large corporate farms over small ones. The stress is so high that farming suffers the highest suicide rate of any occupation in the U.S. Randy will support and improve legislation that corrects bias in Department of Agriculture programs. He will fight for farm policies that open new economic opportunities for small farms in farm-to-consumer sales, the transition to organic production, on-site renewable energy production, and shared processing and storage. He will demand enforcement of federal antitrust laws against large agribusiness and food corporations that dominate many markets..
About Randy Bryce
Randy Bryce is a U.S. Army veteran, cancer survivor, and union ironworker. He was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, and went to public schools. Randy’s father was a police officer, and his mother worked in a doctor’s office. After graduation, Randy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was posted to Honduras, where he earned the Army Achievement Medal. After returning stateside, Randy was diagnosed with cancer, which he survived, but only after struggling through the bankruptcy that came with the medical bills. Once in remission, Randy found his way to an apprenticeship as an iron worker, a trade he’s now been practicing and fighting to protect from anti-labor laws for nearly 20 years. Randy currently resides in Caledonia, WI with his son, Ben, who attends public schools like his dad. Randy joined the race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in Summer 2017.