64 Days: Dole's dismal record of protecting working families

DAY 64

This Labor Day Weekend, hardworking North Carolina families do not have much reason to thank Elizabeth Dole. When it comes to Dole's dismal record of protecting working families, it turns out, once again, she’s against their best interests at every turn. She opposed the Family Medical Leave Act for decades, she has voted against raising the minimum wage while accepting pay raises for herself, and she has made it easier for big business to short their employees’ pension plans. Dole even voted against helping displaced workers after casting the votes that sent their jobs overseas.


1990: Dole Recommended Veto of FMLA. Dole recommended a veto of the Family Medical Leave Act. Dole said, “I'm very much for parental leave, but not in a mandated form. That could be the beginning of a lot of mandates, which would slow economic growth. It takes away the flexibility that an employer and his or her employees need.” [National Journal, 11/3/90]

1996: Dole Supported Her Husband’s Criticism Of FMLA. In 1996, the New York Times reported, “Dole says she supports her husband's criticism of the Family and Medical Leave Act,.” Dole stated, “The problem is, it's a mandate, a one size fits all…It makes more sense to me to have the opportunity for employer and employees to determine what's in the best interest of that set of employees. It may be that they need health care, pensions, other things.” [New York Times, 10/13/96]

1999: Dole “Questioned” FMLA As Presidential Candidate. The Charlotte Observer reported that Dole “appeared to question [FMLA] as late as 1999. Running for president, she said programs such as the Family and Medical Leave Act were not a ‘one size fits all’ solution.” In addition, “she said the act has ‘proven itself’ and should be expanded to allow workers time off for a child’s education.” [Charlotte Observer, 9/25/02]


Dole Voted Against Raising The Minimum Wage Three Times In The Senate. In June 2006, Dole voted against an amendment introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour. In 2005, Dole voted against an amendment that would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over 26 months. She also voted against an amendment to raise the minimum wage to $6.25 an hour over one year. [Associated Press, 6/23/06; Vote 179, 6/21/06; Vote 26, 3/7/05; Vote 257, 10/19/05]

2002: Dole Campaign Said Minimum Wage Hike Could Have A Negative Impact. In 2002, Dole spokeswoman Mary Brown Brewer said that Dole would consider raising the minimum wage “if it would not hurt the economy.” Brewer added, “Right now, though, North Carolina’s economy is going through a downturn. In small business today, many businesses are concerned that a minimum wage increase could have a negative impact on jobs, and we certainly can’t afford to lose any more jobs right now.” [Associated Press, 9/24/02]

As Secretary Of Labor, Dole Supported Veto Of Minimum Wage Plan. As the Secretary of Labor in 1989, Dole said that a Democratic plan to raise the minimum wage from $3.35 per hour to $4.65 an hour “would call for a veto.” At the time, the minimum wage had remained stagnant since 1981. According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Dole “favored a smaller wage hike at the time that included a lower-level training wage for newly hired workers, and that just such a measure ultimately passed.” [Associated Press, 3/3/89; Economist, 3/18/89; Raleigh News and Observer, 9/20/02]


Dole Opposed Giving Workers Voice In Benefit Plan. In 2004, Dole voted to kill an amendment that would have prohibited funds from being used for the protection of federally owned buildings unless the Department of Homeland Security ensured that private security firms contracted by the agency are required to get approval from their employees before changing employee benefits. [Vote 177, 9/14/04]

Dole Voted To Make It Easier For Companies To Reduce Pensions. In 2004, Dole voted for a bill that would allow companies to reduce contributions to their pension plans by temporarily altering the formula used to calculate whether those contributions are sufficient to cover liabilities. The new formula would use a rate based on yields on a corporate bond index. The bill also would ease funding rules for about 4 percent of multi-employer pension plans, giving them a grace period to account for losses. [Vote 68, 4/8/04]

Dole One Of 25 Senators To Vote Against Guaranteed Pensions For Workers. In 2004, Dole voted for an amendment that would release the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) from obligations for any pension benefits accrued by workers at a company that terminates its pension plan while operating under a waiver from deficit reduction contribution requirements. If a plan fails more than two years after the relief period ends, the PBGC would insure the plan’s full obligations. The underlying substitute would temporarily replace the 30-year Treasury rate with a rate based on long-term corporate bonds for certain pension plan funding requirements. Dole was one of only 25 Senators to oppose guaranteeing pensions. [Vote 4, 1/27/04]


Dole Voted Against Funding For Workforce Training Three Times. In the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Dole has voted against increased funding for workforce training under the Workforce Investment Act three times. [Vote 102, 3/25/03; Vote 325, 9/4/03; Vote 24, 1/23/03]

Dole Voted Against Extending Unemployment Benefits Five Times. In the U.S. Senate, Dole voted against extending federal unemployment benefits five times. [Vote 85, 3/25/03; Vote 199, 5/23/03; Vote 269, 7/10/03; Vote 14, 1/22/03; Vote 152, 5/15/03]

---Disclosure: I am Kay Hagan's Online Communications Director---

*Was on the road yesterday with Kay and had trouble logging in from the car, sorry for the delay!