De Blasio unveils workers' bill of rights and it's really... something

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio may be ringing up literally zero in any number of primary polls and he’s facing calls to be removed from his office back home, but you have to give the guy credit for staying in the box and swinging for the fences. He held several campaign events in Washington yesterday and during one appearance with labor union officials, he unveiled his latest policy proposal. It’s a “workers’ bill of rights” and you can tell precisely which members of the choir he’s singing to. It’s packed full of goodies that labor unions will love, plenty of free stuff for all his friends and unfunded debt as far as the eye can see. (Politico)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the first major policy proposal of his struggling presidential campaign Tuesday, heading to the nation’s capital to lay out a “workers’ bill of rights” at a union headquarters.

The proposal, which he unveiled in a BuzzFeed op-ed earlier in the day, includes two weeks of paid time off for all workers, a national $15 minimum wage and stronger protections from terminations.

“If you care about beating Donald Trump, working people are not going to come out and vote unless they believe it’ll actually change their lives,” de Blasio told a small crowd gathered for his event at the Communications Workers of America’s office in Washington, D.C.

This proposal is a transparent sop to the labor unions and it’s the same thing that nearly every Democrat in the race is doing. The unions largely fund their campaigns, so that makes sense, but Hizzoner is going way over the top in a (likely fruitless) attempt to win some union endorsements. But since some of his more viable opponents will probably adopt some of the same positions, it’s worth taking a look.

The fact that he wants a federal minimum wage of fifteen dollars per hour is the same as everyone else on the debate stage, so we can set that one aside. More interesting is the idea of scrapping “at will” employment and replacing it with “just cause.” That means that employers will have to be able to justify a decision to terminate employees in every instance. Having this sort of granular intrusion into employment decisions leads to two unavoidable results. Employers will be more cautious and slow in hiring because they’ll fear getting stuck with a dud of an employee. They will also be open to endless litigation whenever a disgruntled worker decides to go to court after losing their job. In the real world, hiring and termination decisions are hard enough without Big Brother holding a gun to your head.

He’s also calling for retirement benefits for all workers, including those in minimum wage jobs, freelancers and gig economy workers like Uber drivers. Can you imagine forcing McDonald’s franchises to set up pension funds for the kids operating the fry machine? A Big Mac would cost about twenty bucks. It would also exacerbate the unfunded pension crisis already plaguing many sectors around the nation.

There’s plenty more in there you can read for yourself, but it’s all basically one big gift wrapped up with a bow, being delivered in an effort to get some of the unions to endorse his candidacy. Unfortunately for the Mayor, the unions have two dozen other candidates to pick from, some with far better prospects of success, and they’re all willing to heap treasures upon them in exchange for their support.