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Harkin aide to visit Union County

Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 10:38 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES – Sen. Tom Harkin’s, D-Iowa, aide John Moreland will visit Union County Tuesday to host a mobile office for local residents at Union County Extension, 811 N. Sumner Ave., Creston, 1 to 2 p.m.

The event is part of a statewide tour Harkin staff will host to share ideas on how to improve economic security. This event will focus on the universal, secure and adaptable (USA) retirement fund – an effort by Harkin that would help people prepare for retirement. The mobile office tour began in June 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, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, has introduced four initiatives his staff will discuss during the tour:

Real Retirement Security: 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 cannot outlive. Importantly, 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 this time to stay home and get well when they are ill, care for a sick family member, obtain preventative or diagnostic treatment, or 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 would also gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers – which currently stands at just $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 our 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 products and improve the manufacturing process.

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