Blueprint to Empower Workers for Shared Prosperity

Source: Richard Kirsch, Dorian Warren, and Andy Shen, Roosevelt Institute, October 7, 2015

The Future of Work (FoW) Initiative, a project of the Roosevelt Institute, has been working since 2013 to strengthen the right to organize and collectively bargain, uplift and uphold labor standards, and end racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination in the workplace.

The Blueprint to Empower Workers for Shared Prosperity is the culmination of a two-year process that brought together labor unions, academics, leading thinkers from worker organizing centers, community and policy groups, and attorneys to identify major areas in which to explore new policies. Based on these discussions, the Future of Work leadership team commissioned a set of papers to develop significant policy proposals. This Blueprint synthesizes those papers and a small number of related papers. The result is a set of bold proposals that, taken together, would transform the American workplace, making it more inclusive, dignified, and just.

We believe that in order to challenge inequality and achieve economic justice, we must rebuild the fundamental norms of the workplace. We need to fight inequality at its source, from low wages to lack of bargaining power to systemic labor market exclusion. Doing so will improve economic performance, as workers’ increased incomes drive spending and raise the standard of living. We will build a fair and high-performing economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

Building on this core principle, the Blueprint explores five policy strategies to empower workers and advance shared prosperity: (1) maximizing worker power and voice in the new economy; (2) ensuring local residents receive a fair share of the wealth generated by publicly funded projects; (3) holding all employers accountable for violations of labor and civil rights; (4) promoting worker-centered business models and socially responsible business practices; and (5) valuing care by valuing care workers.