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Washington Labor & Employment Wire » Patriot Employers Act of 2009 (S. 829)

Patriot Employers Act of 2009 (S. 829)

Core Provisions: On April 20, 2009, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced The Patriot Employer Act, a legislative initiative designed to encourage businesses to increase wages and benefits and adopt a position of neutrality in unionization drives.  In August 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) co-sponsored a virtually identical bill with Senators Durbin and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The 2007 bill never made it out of the Senate Committee on Finance, but it was a centerpiece of Obama’s campaign for president.

The current bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide a one percent tax credit to qualifying “Patriot” employers.  To be designated a “Patriot” employer, a business must (1) maintain headquarters in the United States, (2) pay 60 percent or more of each employee’s health care premiums, (3)  observe a policy of neutrality in union drives, and (4) provide a specified living wage and retirement benefit to employees.  Additionally, employers that employ 50 employees on average, must (5) preserve or increase full-time positions in the United States (relative to full-time positions in other countries) and (6) provide full salary and insurance benefit differentials for all National Guard and Reserve employees called to active duty.

Status: S.829 was introduced by Senator Durbin on April 20, 2009 and referred to the Committee on Finance.  On February 11, 2009, the House version of the bill, entitled the Eagle Employers Act, was introduced by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means. The House bill does not require employer neutrality in union organizing drives.