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Union Vindicates Its Wage Fight With New Bill

A bill to keep businesses from leaving the country is gaining support from organized labor, with one major union declaring Wednesday it as a clear sign the minimum wage fight is working.

“I introduced the Patriot Employer Tax Credit Act, which will reward businesses that exemplify American values and treat workers fairly – not companies who ship jobs overseas,” Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat, declared in a statement.

If passed into law, the bill, which was introduced last week, would effectively grant a significant tax credit to companies that maintain their headquarters in the United States while offering their workers high wages and a long list of benefits. Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, proclaimed the bill shows the fight for a so called “living wage” is working.

“It’s the latest evidence that working people are winning — that their fight for $15 and union rights has the momentum to change the lives of millions of underpaid workers,” Henry said in a statement. “The goal of $15 an hour has become a reality in cities and workplaces across the country.”

The bill was co-sponsored primarily by Democrats including Sens. Sherrod Brown, Jack Reed, Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin, as well as socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

“Thousands of cooks and cashiers, home care and child care workers, airport workers, adjunct professors and other working people have joined together and taken to the streets to say that we need an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few,” Henry said.

“As thousands of fast-food workers gather for their second national convention this weekend, their voices are louder than ever, and those voices are being heard,” she concluded. “They won’t stop, and we won’t stop, until everyone who works earns enough to provide for their family and live a decent life. This bill is another important step toward that goal.”

The bill also dictates that in order for a company to qualify, they must pay workers about $14 an hour, offer insurance that is compliant with Obamacare, offer an adequate retirement plan, support veterans and meet certain diversity requirements.

“It’s time to stop giving tax breaks to companies that have shipped millions of American jobs overseas, and start investing in small- and medium-sized businesses that are increasing decent-paying jobs in America,” Sanders stated. “This bill begins to do just that and I thank Sen. Durbin for his leadership on this important issue.”

Others, however, argue the real problem is the corporate tax code itself, which encourages U.S. corporations to retain profits overseas. Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, has pointed to several problems within the current tax system that drives corporations away.

Primarily that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. He noted that we are literally taxing our businesses away.

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