Unions are good for our economy and have an equalizing power in the labor market. As the birthplace of America’s organized labor movement, Maryland recognizes the value of our workers. From Western Maryland’s railyards to the shipyards and steel mills in Baltimore, our state’s industrial foundation was set by union hands. The Moore-Miller team understands economic opportunity is readily available to some, and dangerously absent to others. Today, workers face a widening income gap and decreasing worker wellbeing. It is more vital now than ever before that we support and protect Maryland’s working families and their unions.
Wes comes from a strong union family and believes that strong unions are essential to building a thriving and equitable economy in Maryland. When Wes’ father died at a young age and left his mother a widow, it was his father’s union that paid for his funeral and supported his sister when she got sick. These experiences helped to shape Wes’ strong commitment to organized labor and under his leadership as CEO of one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty nonprofits, their policy work centered around advocating for paid leave expansion, increased wages for front-line workers in the care sector, reforming the unemployment insurance systems, and ending wage theft and forced arbitration clauses for workers. They provided millions to a local union to improve training for home health workers, invested over $10 million annually in job training, and provided emergency relief funding for child care and health care workers during the pandemic.
Wes’ running mate, former Delegate Aruna Miller, has also been a champion for labor throughout her career. As a Delegate in the General Assembly, Aruna supported legislation to provide workers flexible, paid leave for workers experiencing illnesses or with family experiencing illness, prohibiting subminimum wages for disabled workers, expanding collective bargaining, preventing employers from retaliating over wage complaints, increasing the minimum wage, and many other important labor issues.
The North Star of the Moore-Miller administration will be to ensure that all working people have access to good jobs and the power to determine their wages and working conditions. Wes and Aruna are committed to protecting and expanding the right of workers to join unions and bargain collectively; this way expanding work, wages, and wealth for every family in Maryland, with a commitment to equity. Wes and Aruna will always work in true partnership with Maryland’s workers and unions to achieve these goals.
To do this, the Moore-Miller administration will:
- Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023, and index it to the cost of living to ensure that worker wages don’t degrade over time.
- Ensure every worker has access to critical benefits like paid sick, family and medical leave.
- Appoint a Labor Relations Liaison to engage regularly with labor representatives and facilitate the quick resolution of issues brought to our attention.
- Expand access to Maryland’s apprenticeship programs, including registered apprenticeship programs, to provide workers with high-quality training that creates pathways to good careers.
- Empower Maryland’s Department of Labor to fully execute its mission and build systems to monitor wage theft, track and penalize bad actors, and report on trends to prevent future abuse.
- Leverage our state’s purchasing power to ensure resources are devoted to sound projects that pay workers a living wage, ensure they are not taken advantage of, and hire and train apprentices so we are building our workforce.
- Strengthen State Collective Bargaining agreements and encourage Maryland’s counties and municipal governments to do the same.