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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and colleagues are introducing the Tax Fairness for Workers Act, legislation that would make the tax deduction for union dues above-the-line (available for everyone, even if they don’t itemize deductions) and reinstate the tax deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses. U.S. Representative Conor Lamb (D-PA-17) has introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Center for American Progress highlighted Senator Casey’s and Representative Lamb’s proposal in their report on the top 3 pro-labor tax provisions for the Biden Administration to consider. Stating “The pre-TCJA tax code allowed workers to deduct unreimbursed business expenses, such as union dues and business travel costs, subject to certain limits explained below. However, the TCJA eliminated the deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses. As a result, workers and their unions are now entirely excluded from standard tax benefits, even as those benefits are still being extended to corporations.”

“Unions are the backbone of the middle class, supporting workers, wage growth and fair economic conditions. In 2017, Republicans eliminated tax deductions for workers and instead gave massive tax cuts for large, profitable corporations,” said Senator Casey. “This legislation would put money back in the pockets of working families by reinstating deductions for union dues and other unreimbursed employee expenses.”

“As our economy recovers from the pandemic it is critical we ensure all Americans can provide for their families. This commonsense bill ensures that our tax code treats workers and union members fairly,” said Congressman Conor Lamb (PA-17).  “Congress must do everything we can to provide the resources and tools that will benefit everyone – not just big corporations – in an effort to move us forward and improve the lives of all working Pennsylvanians.”

“Our tax system must support workers and their families, not just corporations and the ultra-rich. Unfortunately, the Trump tax plan stripped workers of a long-standing deduction that helped ensure balance,” said USW International President Tom Conway. “The Tax Fairness for Workers Act reinstates this deduction for union dues, recognizing the need for both collective bargaining and tax benefits for working people.”

“Restoring tax deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses and union dues is an important step towards undoing the damage that President Trump and Republicans in Congress did when they passed legislation that gave massive tax cuts to corporations while eliminating provisions that help working families. CWA strongly supports the Tax Fairness for Workers Act and other measures that put working people first and ensure that our tax code supports workers seeking to organize and have a voice on the job,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

“Sen. Casey’s Tax Fairness for Workers Act restores a fair tax code that does not penalize working families for job related expenses. The 2017 tax overhaul The 2017 tax bill eliminated the deduction for unreimbursed expenses workers experience as part of their job. Whether it's travel expenses, uniform and equipment out of pocket expenses or union dues, working families now shoulder this burden while the multinational corporations they work for in many cases pay no taxes through elaborate tax shelters. All we ask is that working families not be penalized for expenses related to their jobs,” said UAW President Rory L. Gamble and UAW Region 9 Director Jeff Binz.

The Tax Fairness for Workers Act would:

  • Make the deduction for union dues above the line;
  • Lift the suspension of the deduction for unreimbursed employee expenses, such as: (1) job search expenses, (2) travel (3) out of pocket cost of uniforms and tools and (4) supplies attributable to a trade or business consisting of the performance of services by the taxpayer as an employee.

The legislation is endorsed by the The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO); North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU); United Steelworkers (USW); International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM); Communications Workers of America (CWA); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); International Brotherhood of Teamsters; United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW); American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); National Education Association (NEA); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) and Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA).

The Tax Fairness for Workers Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

Read the Tax Fairness for Workers Act here.