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Michael Capuano on Jobs

Democratic Representative (MA-8)


Strengthen rights of seniors against age discrimination

Q: Will you support or oppose legislation that restores the full protections for older workers under the nation's age discrimination laws?A: I would be proud to strengthen the rights of senior Americans to seek remedies for age discrimination as I was proud to co-sponsor HR 11, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 which became law in January of this year. That law strengthens protections and remedies for women who suffer from unjust employment practices. When courts act to diminish rights guaranteed by the Constitution or established by statute, it is incumbent upon Congress to restore those rights.
Source: 2009 AARP Voter Guide: MA Senate , Dec 1, 2009

Voted NO on allowing compensatory time off for working overtime.

Congressional Summary:

Opponent's Argument for voting No:

Reference: Working Families Flexibility Act; Bill H.R.1406 ; vote number 13-HV137 on Apr 9, 2013

Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.

Congressional Summary:Revises the formula for Tier-1 amounts a state credits to an applicant's emergency unemployment compensation account. Increases the figures in the formula from 50% to 80% of the total amount of regular compensation ; and from 13 to 20 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. CHARLES RANGEL (D, NY-15): The House, for weeks, has attempted to save the free world from a fiscal disaster. We have bailed out the banks and those who held mortgages. At the same time, we provided for energy extensions, we provided tax breaks for those people that tax provisions have expired. We provided for hurricane relief, for mental health. So over $1 trillion is out there for this House to ease the pain of millions of Americans.

While we were dealing with these gigantic powers, we overlooked the fact that over the last 12 months the number of unemployed workers has jumped by over 2 million, leaving 10 million Americans struggling for work. These are hardworking people that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Rep. JERRY WELLER (R, IL-11): This important legislation provides additional needed assistance to the long-term unemployed. It's important that we pass this legislation today as our last act before we leave for the election campaign.

This legislation focuses the most additional benefits on workers and States where the unemployment rate is highest and where jobs are hardest to find. This program continues the requirement that those benefiting from extended unemployment benefits had to have worked at least 20 weeks. Americans were rightly concerned about proposals to eliminate that work requirement and allow 39 weeks or, under the legislation before us today, as many as 59 weeks of total unemployment benefits to be paid to those who have previously only worked for a few weeks.

Opponent's argument to vote No:None voiced.

Reference: Unemployment Compensation Extension Act; Bill HR.6867 ; vote number 2008-H683 on Oct 3, 2008

Voted NO on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This bill was vetoed twice! Congress passed an identical bill in May, which Pres. Bush vetoed. Congress then discovered that a clerical error. A replacement bill was passed; then vetoed again by the President; and this is its "final" veto override.

Congressional Summary: Provides for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through FY2012. Revises agricultural and related programs, including provisions respecting:

  1. commodity programs;
  2. conservation;
  3. trade;
  4. nutrition;
  5. credit;
  6. rural development;
  7. research and related matters;
  8. forestry;
  9. energy;
  10. horticulture and organic agriculture;
  11. livestock;
  12. crop insurance and disaster assistance;
  13. socially disadvantaged and limited resource producers; and
  14. miscellaneous programs.
President's veto message: I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 6124. The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, H.R. 2419, did not include the title III (trade) provisions that are in this bill. In passing H.R. 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on H.R. 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions [but did not].

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our trade objectives of securing greater market access for American farmers. [Hence] I must veto H.R. 6124.

Proponents argument for voting YEA: We had a meeting this morning with the Secretary of Agriculture to talk about implementation. So [despite the two vetoes], the work has been going on within the department of agriculture to get ready for implementation.

This is a good bill. It has wide support in the Congress. It does address all of the issues that have been brought to the Agriculture Committee.

Reference: Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-417 on Jun 18, 2008

Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing.

    To enable employees to form & join labor organizations, and to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. Requires investigation that an employer:
    1. discharged or discriminated against an employee to discourage membership in a labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge employees in the exercise of guaranteed collective bargaining rights; and
    3. adds to remedies for such violations: back pay plus liquidated damages; and additional civil penalties.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    The principle at stake here is the freedom that all workers should have to organize for better working conditions & fair wages. There are many employers around the country who honor this freedom. Unfortunately, there are also many employers who do not. These employers attempt to prevent workers from unionizing by using tactics that amount to harassment, if not outright firing. In fact, one in five people who try to organize unions are fired. These tactics are already illegal, but the penalties are so minor, they are not effective deterrents.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    Democracy itself is placed at risk by this bill. The sanctity of the secret ballot is the backbone of our democratic process. Not one voter signed a card to send us here to Congress. None of us sent our campaign workers out to voters' houses armed with candidate information & a stack of authorization cards. No. We trusted democracy. We trusted the voters to cast their ballots like adults, freely, openly, without intimidation, and we live with the results. But here we are, poised to advance legislation to kill a secret ballot process.

    Let's be clear. Every American has the right to organize. No one is debating that. This is a right we believe in so strongly we have codified it and made it possible for workers to do so through a secret ballot.

    Reference: The Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-118 on Mar 1, 2007

    Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.

    Increase the federal minimum wage to:
    1. $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment;
    2. $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and
    3. $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    We have waited for over 10 years to have a clean vote on the minimum wage for the poorest workers in this country Low-wage workers had their wages frozen in time, from 10 years ago, but when they go to the supermarket, the food prices are higher; when they put gasoline in the car, the gasoline prices are higher; when they pay the utility bills, the utility bills are higher; when their kids get sick, the medical bills are higher. All of those things are higher. They are living in 2007, but in their wages they are living in 1997.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    This bill is marked more by what is not in the bill than what is in it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two-thirds of our Nation's new jobs, and they represent 98% of the new businesses in the US. What protection does this bill provide them? None whatsoever.

    We can do better. In the interest of sending the President a final measure that provides consideration for small businesses and their workers, the very men and women who are responsible for our economy's recent growth and strength, we must do better.

    Reference: Fair Minimum Wage Act; Bill HR 2 ("First 100 hours") ; vote number 2007-018 on Jan 10, 2007

    Voted NO on end offshore tax havens and promote small business.

    American Jobs Creation Act of 2004: <0l>
  1. Repeal the tax exclusion for extraterritorial income - Permits foreign corporations to revoke elections to be treated as U.S. corporations Business Tax Incentives - Small Business ExpensingTax Relief for Agriculture and Small Manufacturers
  2. Tax Reform and Simplification for United States Businesses
  3. Deduction of State and Local General Sales Taxes
  4. Fair and Equitable Tobacco Reform
  5. Provisions to Reduce Tax Avoidance Through Individual and Corporation Expatriation
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bill Rep Thomas [R, CA-22]; Bill H.R.4520 ; vote number 2004-509 on Oct 7, 2004

Voted NO on $167B over 10 years for farm price supports.

Vote to authorize $167 billion over ten years for farm price supports, food aid and rural development. Payments would be made on a countercyclical program, meaning they would increase as prices dropped. Conservation acreage payments would be retained.
Bill HR 2646 ; vote number 2001-371 on Oct 5, 2001

Voted NO on zero-funding OSHA's Ergonomics Rules instead of $4.5B.

Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority or power to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders.
Reference: Sponsored by Nickles, R-OK; Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-33 on Mar 7, 2001

Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.

Capuano scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on union issues

As the federation of America’s unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of America’s workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

Allow an Air Traffic Controller's Union.

Capuano co-sponsored allowing an Air Traffic Controller's Union

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Federal Aviation Administration Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006: Prohibits the FAA from implementing any proposed change to the FAA personnel management system in cases where the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service do not lead to an agreement between the Administrator and FAA employees, unless Congress authorizes the change during the 60-day period. Requires binding arbitration if Congress does not enact a bill into law within the 60-day period.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: Because what air traffic controllers do is vital to our safety, I became very concerned by a letter I received from Illinois air traffic controller Michael Hannigan. He wrote that "the air traffic controllers are not being allowed to negotiate in good faith with the FAA."

What was clear in Michael's plea was the sense that he and his colleagues felt that they were being treated unfairly. I looked into it and came to the conclusion that if we did not restore a fair negotiation procedure, it would threaten agency morale and effectiveness.

The problem is this: the FAA Administrator currently has the extraordinary authority to impose wages and working conditions on her workers without arbitration. In order to do that, she merely has to declare an impasse in negotiations and if Congress does not stop her from imposing her terms and conditions within 60 days, the Administrator can go ahead and act unilaterally. That authority denies air traffic controllers and all other FAA employees the opportunity to engage in and conclude negotiations in good faith.

It is in the best interest of the agency and public safety to have management and labor cooperate in contract negotiations.

EXCERPTS OF BILL:

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

Source: FAA Dispute Resolution Act (S.2201/H.R.4755) 06-S2201 on Jan 26, 2006

Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot.

Capuano signed H.R.1409&S.560

Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

    Requires that priority be given to any charge that, while employees were seeking representation by a labor organization, an employer:
  1. discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee to encourage or discourage membership in the labor organization;
  2. threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in order to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of guaranteed self-organization or collective bardaining rights; or
  3. engaged in any unfair labor practice that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of such guaranteed rights.
    Source: Employee Free Choice Act 09-HR1409 on Mar 10, 2009

    Rated 0% by CEI, indicating a pro-worker rights voting record.

    Capuano scores 0% by CEI on union issues

    The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free markets and limited government, has created a Congressional Labor Scorecard for the 112th Congress focusing on worker issues. The score is determined based on policies that support worker freedom and the elimination of Big Labor's privileges across the country.

    Source: CEI website 12-CEI-H on May 2, 2012

    Ban discriminatory compensation; allow 2 years to sue.

    Capuano signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

      Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs when:
    1. a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted;
    2. an individual becomes subject to the decision or practice; or
    3. an individual is affected by application of the decision or practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid.
    Allows an aggrieved person to obtain relief, including recovery of back pay, for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to practices that occurred outside the time for filing a charge. Applies the preceding provisions to claims of compensation discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

    [Note: A woman named Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit for gender-based discriminatory compensation. The Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Ledbetter could only sue for damages going back 180 days, and the 180 days was calculated from the time her employment contract was initiated, i.e., her hire date. This new law changes the 180-day period to two years, and also calculates the date from the time of each paycheck, rather than the hire date. -- Ed.]

    Source: S.181&H.R.11 2009-S181 on Jan 29, 2009

    Stronger enforcement against gender-based pay discrimination.

    Capuano signed Paycheck Fairness Act

    Source: S.182&H.R.12 2009-S182 on Jan 8, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Jobs: Michael Capuano on other issues:
    MA Gubernatorial:
    Deval Patrick
    Tom Menino
    MA Senatorial:
    Ed Markey
    Elizabeth Warren
    Gabriel Gomez
    John Kerry
    Mo Cowan



    Lame-duck session 2012:
    KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
    MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
    NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
    WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

    Re-seated Former Reps:
    AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
    AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
    FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
    IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
    NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
    NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
    NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
    TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

    2013 Resignations and Replacements:
    AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
    IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
    IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
    MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
    MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
    MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
    MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
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    CA-2: Jared Huffman
    CA-7: Ami Bera
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    CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
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    Page last updated: Jun 23, 2013