Image by Maarten van den Heuvel

Growing

the

Middle

Class

Supporting the middle class is how we will rebuild and repair from this pandemic. This comes from supporting wage growth, unions, and education access as we undertake initiatives like the Bronx Pandemic Reconstruction Program, improve financial security, and working for everyone. This will allow us to work on making our city more resilient to the climate crisis and improve equity and equality.

  • Labor unions are a vehicle for economic recovery and middle-class growth

  • Preserve affordable education and invest in CUNY: A driver of middle-class growth

  • Join the Civilian Climate Corps and Cancel Student Debt

The labor unions are the way we grow the middle class with stable careers, benefits, safe workplaces, forward-looking training, and better outcomes on the job.

Labor unions are a vehicle for economic recovery and a stable workforce. Whether it’s sanitation, grocery stores, trades-people, or healthcare, we rely on front-line workers. We can support union labor organizing efforts, including local work requirements in development decisions. Furthermore, I support the growth of unions by encouraging union labor across the city as we rebuild and repair. Unions support the middle class by building power for working people while fighting for healthcare, safe working conditions, reasonable hours, higher wages, and a say in the company. Without unions, workers struggle to find the time for their own needs against companies and spend time with their families. By encouraging and supporting unions, we support better living standards, better working conditions, and more prosperous homes.

CUNY and trade education is an escalator to the middle class in New York City.

CUNY is the escalator that elevates the lowest 40% on the socio-economic scale to the highest 40%.  The pandemic made it harder for the City to invest in CUNY, so instead of reinforcing the system, the City defunded it.  This is a critical misstep, as each dollar invested in CUNY has a return for the City. Providing people with the tools to seek gainful, meaningful employment as part of a Just Transition is key to our recovery.

By encouraging skilled  labor through sponsored training and apprenticeships, we can change our social systems and physical infrastructure to make us more resilient to climate change. There will be a lot of work to be done to root out environmental racism and injustice, make our city more walkable, and install renewable energy. We need the best minds and hands at work in NYC and in the Bronx, and that starts with education and training. 

 

Join the Civilian Climate Corps and Cancel Student Debt

The GI Bill provided (white) returning veterans with the opportunity to attend university for free.  It was a thank you from the US Government for years of service.  Today’s students and former students are burdened by student debt, and the issue is exacerbated by the pandemic and economic depression. The Federal Government could create a similar, pro-environmental justice program: engage in a civilian climate corps to assist with the needed climate mobilization and in exchange, student debt would be canceled. 

I don’t know what the Civilian Climate Corps looks like - it could be a two years Peace-Corps program or a one weekend a month reservist model, or it could be both. But certainly, this would work for both citizens and the country.