Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2014

Harkin aide to visit Jefferson County

Jun 18, 2013

DES MOINES – Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin’s aide, Jessica Border, will host a mobile office for Jefferson County residents from 10:15-11:5 a.m. June 27 at the Fairfield Public Library’s meeting room.

The event, part of a statewide tour Harkin staff will host to share ideas on how to improve economic security, will focus on The Healthy Families Act – an effort by Harkin that would allow workers to earn paid sick leave.

Harkin’s staff will visit all 99 counties during the mobile office tour, which begins this month in Indianola.

“Congress has the ability through meaningful policies to improve economic security for working families in Iowa and across the country,” said Harkin. “Throughout the summer, my staff will visit each county and talk to Iowans about the ideas I am promoting to shore up retirement security, rebuild our manufacturing base and ensure workers have access to paid sick leave and to a fair wage. I hope that Iowans will attend these events and share their ideas for policies that would help their families.”

Harkin, as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has introduced four initiatives his staff will discuss during the tour:

• Real Retirement Security: The Universal, Secure, and Adaptable (“USA”) Retirement Fund. USA Retirement Funds combine the advantages of traditional pensions – e.g., lifetime income benefits and pooled, professional management – with the portability and ease for employers of a 401(k). That will give middle class families the opportunity to earn secure retirement benefits that they take with them as they change jobs and that they cannot outlive. USA Retirement Funds also make it simple for employers to offer a benefit without having to take on all of the risk and administrative burden.

• Allowing Workers to Earn Paid Sick Leave: The Healthy Families Act. The proposal would allow workers to earn up to 56 hours (seven days) of paid sick time per year, by earning one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Workers can use the time to stay home and get well when they are ill, to care for a sick family member, to obtain preventative or diagnostic treatment or to seek help if they are victims of domestic violence.

• Raising the Federal Minimum Wage: The Fair Minimum Wage Act. The proposal would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current $7.25 in three steps of 95 cents, then provide for automatic annual increases linked to changes in the cost of living. The bill also would gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, which currently stands at $2.13 an hour, for the first time in more than 20 years, to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

• Bolstering American Manufacturing: The Rebuilding American Manufacturing Act of 2013. The proposal requires the president to establish a National Manufacturing Strategy to better resources and effectively support American manufacturing. Harkin also supports President Obama’s call to create a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a public-private partnership to help manufacturing companies innovate, create new product, and improve the manufacturing process.

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