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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sen. Baldwin sponsors legislation in Congress to help Wisconsin workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin recently introduced the Worker Owned Wealth Act to help Wisconsin workers get ahead by providing employees with tools and resources to become co-owners of the businesses where they work. 

“We must do more to reward hard work and raise incomes for working families,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin has a rich history of employee-owned businesses that fosters innovation and increases productivity, and I’m proud to be encouraging more workers to establish and expand the employee-owned stakes in their companies. My Worker Owned Wealth Act will support Wisconsin workers by helping employees access the capital needed to purchase a stake in their company. As shareholders, workers have a greater say in the decision-making process, higher wages and greater job and retirement security.”

Senator Baldwin’s Worker Owned Wealth Act would encourage employee ownership business models like Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) or worker cooperatives that give workers a seat at the table and help employee-owners build wealth. These plans allow workers to become shareholders who have a greater say in a company’s decision-making, like who sits on the board of directors, wages, executive pay and decisions to expand or downsize, or keep the company in the community instead of relocating out of town or out of the country. Employee ownership is also good for business. Companies that are employee-owned are more likely to increase productivity and become more resilient to market downturns.

Specifically, the Worker Owned Wealth Act would:

·       Improve access to capital by creating an Employee Ownership Revolving Loan Fund with in the Department of Treasury that would provide low-interest loans to employees seeking to purchase or grow a stake of their company.

·       Incentivize private lending to employee ownership trusts by providing a tax deduction on the profits earned by financial institutions on these loans.

·       Raise awareness about employee ownership by creating an Office of Employee Ownership and Worker Empowerment in the White House’s National Economic Council.

·       Close the CEO-pay tax loophole for public companies that are not at least five percent employee owned.

Senator Baldwin’s Worker Owned Wealth Act has garnered support from companies in Wisconsin and advocates across the country.

See what more supporters are saying here.

Text of the Worker Owned Wealth Act is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is also looking to help Wisconsin workers by fighting to pass her Buy America amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Baldwin’s Supporting America’s Defense Workers Act would prevent the elimination of critical Buy America standards in the NDAA.

“My amendment is a commonsense Buy America policy that supports our manufacturers and our workers, as well as our national and economic security,” said Senator Baldwin. “I have bipartisan support, including President Trump, for my Buy America amendment and I look forward to a vote that respects and rewards the hard work of America’s workers and our military.”

Senator Baldwin’s amendment would reverse Section 863, which is currently in the NDAA. President Trump shares the goal of striking that section, stating in the White House’s Statement of Administration Policy, “The Administration strongly objects to section 863… The existing procurement requirements act as a key guarantor of strategic supply chain security. They protect DOD’s ability to reliably source goods such as chemical weapons antidotes and components for naval vessels, among others.”

Current law requires that certain critical components—like valves, machine tools, anchor chain, propellers and chemical weapons antidotes—be supplied by companies qualified under the National Technology and Industrial Base (NTIB). Section 863 would enact a harmful sunset provision on these current requirements, eliminating them at the end of Fiscal Year 2018 and consequently opening taxpayer-funded defense contracts to unfairly-subsidized foreign competition, placing American jobs at risk.

Senator Baldwin has been a champion of Buy America reforms. Senator Baldwin’s Made in America Water Infrastructure Act, her Buy America legislation to require American-made iron and steel is used in water infrastructure projects, also received support from President Trump.

A copy of Senator Baldwin’s amendment is available here.

An online version of this release is available here

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