I Read Every 2020 Frontrunner’s Labor Platform So You Didn’t Have To

Presidential candidates are going all out to win over working-class Americans.

Julián Castro marched with McDonald’s workers in North Carolina. Pete Buttigieg rallied with Uber drivers in San Francisco. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders joined striking supermarket cashiers on the picket lines in Massachusetts.

It’s easy to dismiss these gestures as the usual photo ops, but they reflect the labor movement’s resurgent influence in politics. Most of the Democratic frontrunners are also releasing detailed policy platforms that promise workers everything they’ve ever wanted. Paid parental leave—yes. A $15 minimum wage—check. Paid sick days—done.

And for the first time, most candidates are really paying attention to working women and the challenges they face in the workplace, such as lower pay and few accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Sure, not every candidate is promising workers major reform. Some candidates are more interested in incremental changes. But even so, the 2020 Democratic primary election is shaping up to provide the most ambitious blueprint to overhaul US labor laws. And with public frustration toward billionaires and CEOs mounting, it seems like a smart campaign strategy.

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