Keep American Jobs in America

The Senate Banking Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on Sen. Bernie Sanders proposal to stem the flow of American jobs overseas by creating a $100 million loan fund to help workers purchase businesses by establishing Employee Stock Ownership Plans or worker-owned cooperatives. "Employee ownership is one of the keys to creating a sustainable economy with jobs that pay a living wage," Senator Bernie Sanders told colleagues in a floor statement. "Every day we read about plants being moved to

The Senate Banking Committee has agreed to hold a hearing on Sen. Bernie Sanders proposal to stem the flow of American jobs overseas by creating a $100 million loan fund to help workers purchase businesses by establishing Employee Stock Ownership Plans or worker-owned cooperatives. "Employee ownership is one of the keys to creating a sustainable economy with jobs that pay a living wage," Senator Bernie Sanders told colleagues in a floor statement. "Every day we read about plants being moved to low-wage countries like China or Mexico, but many of the companies were turning profits. Shutting them down was unnecessary." As Toyota overtakes General Motors as the world's No. 1 automaker, Sanders said the loan program could help save U.S. automotive jobs. "If we do not change course, there will not be a major auto industry in this country. We must not allow that to happen. Employee ownership may be one way to keep American auto jobs in America."Employee ownership also could help preserve jobs in other manufacturing industries, a sector of the U.S. economy that has sustained the loss of 3.2 million decent-paying jobs since 2000, when President Bush took office. Under Sanders' proposal, the Department of Commerce would provide financing, technical assistance and grants to employee ownership groups known as Employee Stock Ownership Plans and Eligible Worker Owned Cooperatives. In order to qualify for assistance under the program, employee groups would be required to submit an independent feasibility study that determined loans to their business could be repaid with interest. Sanders said employee ownership already has increased employment, productivity, sales and wages in the United States. Proctor & Gamble and Anheuser Bush are among some 11,000 Employee Stock Ownership Plans already operating in the U.S. A Rutgers University study, he said, found that broad-based employee ownership boosts productivity by 4 percent, increases shareholder return by 2 percent and increases profits by 14 percent. Loans to American workers are a better investment than the billions of taxpayer dollars funneled through the Export-Import Bank to giant, multi-national companies -- such as Boeing, General Electric, Halliburton and IBM -- that have moved hundreds of thousands of jobs to China, India and Mexico. "Employee ownership can and should be one of the central strategies in combating the outsourcing of American jobs," Sanders added. ""Simply put, workers who are also owners will not move their own jobs to China." Sanders' proposal is cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Blanch Lincoln.To listen to the Senators floor statement on this issue click here.