Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney Unveils Vision to Defend Unions, Protect Montana’s Workers

Cooney: ‘I will never stop fighting for the working women and men of Montana’

Helena, Mont. — At the historic Laborers Hall in Helena, Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney today unveiled his vision for defending labor unions and standing up for Montana’s workers. Cooney was joined by Democratic candidate for Attorney General Raph Graybill, Cooney’s running mate and lifelong union member Casey Schreiner, Montana AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Al Ekblad, Montana Federation of Public Employees Amanda Curtis and Kim Rickard of the Montana Laborers.

Montanans value a hard day’s work, and I have spent my career delivering results for our state’s working women and men,” Cooney said. “As Montana’s next governor, I will defend Montana workers – and the unions that represent them – and never stop fighting to create more jobs and secure the safe working conditions, health insurance, retirement benefits, and competitive wages that allow every Montana worker a shot at the better life they deserve.

The middle class and working families in Montana face an unprecedented attack on their rights by out-of-state special interests,” Graybill said. “I’ve gone to court to fight for Montanans and won, and as Attorney General, I’ll stand with working families to protect their rights, good wages, pensions, and healthcare.

“As an educator and a union member, I know just how critical it is for Montana’s workers to have an ally in the Governor’s Office,” Casey Schreiner said. “Mike and I will fight tirelessly to support our great state’s workers, and will always stand up to defend labor unions and the protections they provide for Montana’s working families.”

“The Montana labor movement appreciates Mike Cooney’s proactive approach to addressing workforce needs,” Montana AFL-CIO’s Al Ekblad said. “Mike has always been a leader that brings diverse people together to find solutions. He works with business, labor, and the education community to get the work that matters done.”

Cooney’s candidacy is endorsed by the Montana AFL-CIO, the Montana Federation of Public Employees, the Montana State Council of Professional Fire Fighters, and the Montana Teamsters. 
A New Day for Workers
In addition to opposing and vetoing any attempt to turn Montana into a so-called “Right to Work” state, which would immediately and drastically lower pay and benefits for every worker in the state, Lt. Governor Mike Cooney and Casey Schreiner will support programs and policies that encourage public and private sector workers to organize for collective bargaining purposes, that create more jobs, safe working conditions, health insurance, a secure retirement, and competitive wages that allow every Montana worker a shot at a better life.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Presumptive Health Care: provide for presumptive Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) coverage for first responders, law enforcement and firefighters.

Workplace Pandemic Standards: establish enforceable pandemic workplace standards for all Montana workplaces. 

Predictive Scheduling: require certain employers give workers advance notice of work schedules and pay for last minute changes.

Fair Work Week: deny certain employers the ability to make employees work closing and opening shifts less than 10 hours apart unless their employees specifically request or agree to work.

GOOD-PAYING JOBS

Apprenticeship Tax Credit: increase apprenticeship tax credit to $1,500 for Veterans ($1,000 for non-Veterans) to incentivize employers to create good-paying apprenticeship jobs, allowing Montanans to earn while they learn.

Infrastructure Investments: grow statewide investments in roads, bridges, water treatment facilities and expanded broadband projects across Montana, which will create good-paying jobs in local communities while increasing Montana-sourcing for Montana projects.

Clean Energy and Technology Manufacturing: Enact a comprehensive plan to promote clean energy technology including Carbon Capture Sequestration and Utilization and clean energy manufacturing to improve manufacturing products or processes by reducing energy use and waste.

Prevailing Wage Enforcement: empower and ensure that the Montana Department of Labor and Industry is working with third party partners to enforce all Montana wage and hour standards. 

Smart and Safe Mining and Materials: place Montana at the forefront of providing an environmentally safe source for a secure domestic supply of rare earth and other critical minerals for our nation’s needs.

STATE AS A LEADER

Apprenticeship Utilization: require certain state contractors to utilize apprenticeships as a way to continue to build Montana’s workforce.

Union Organization: review existing state law and regulations that may discourage public sector workers from organizing for collective bargaining purposes.

Best Value Contracting: implement “Best Value” procurement methods in state contracting to expand criteria for selecting a state contractor beyond the default practice of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder.
 

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