July 26 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg rolled out a plan Friday that aims to strengthen unionized workers and those in temporary positions, pay transparency and expand protections for farm workers.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor also proposes a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour -- something already championed by other candidates -- and ending so-called "right to work" laws he says threatens union security.
The plan is titled, "A New Rising Tide."
"We have an economy right now that looks good on paper but has more and more of us feeling stuck," Buttigieg said in a video announcement. "We can all look at the stock market and see the numbers going up, but that doesn't mean the economy is working for us."
To strengthen American unions, Buttgieg proposes penalties for companies that interfere in union elections, rights to multi-employer bargaining and establishing a preference in federal contracts for unionized employers. He also pledges support for the Raise the Wage Act, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Buttgieg said although the domestic economy has strengthened substantially in the last few years, its benefits have not reached all Americans.
"There are neighborhoods in my community and around this country where it is as if this entire recovery never happened because we are living in the most unequal economy of modern times."
Union rights for gig-economy workers looked to appeal to the more than 10 million and growing independent contractors, 1.4 million temporary workers, and one million contract firm workers that continue to make up a larger percent of the American economy.
Buttgieg's plan also pledges to strengthen temporary workers by allowing them to join unions, institutes a national system for paid sick leave, and forces businesses to publicize pay discrepancies between men and women.
"As we enter a new American era, our economy will continue to shift beneath our feet," the proposal states. "But what should never change is our commitment to empower workers and ensure that they can afford to live a decent life.
"With these policies, we will lift up American workers and their wages, while equipping both workers and employers with the tools they need to thrive in a 21st century economy."