According to a recent study by economists, one in four jobs is vulnerable to offshoring. Yet, rather than encouraging companies to keep jobs and operations in the United States, existing federal tax laws allow companies to deduct their moving expenses when shifting operations overseas.
Leaders from United Steelworkers (USW) District 4 joined Congressman Brian Higgins calling for immediate action on a number of initiatives that promise to bring jobs home and keep products made in America.
"The American workforce, particularly the working men and women of Western New York, have a proven track record of high quality work," said United Steelworkers (USW) District 4 Director John Shinn. "Through a strong partnership between labor and management at Xylem we were successful in bringing work back to the U.S. Efforts like this, to keep and create jobs here at home, are good for working families and help increase the companies' reputation and sales."
From left: AFL-CIO President Richard Lipsitz, Xylem Plant Manager Tom Reid, Congressman Brian Higgins and United Steelworkers (USW) District 4 Director John Shinn are joined by local steelworkers and Xylem employees.
"This nation can and must do a better job of keeping quality jobs right here where they belong," Higgins said. "Our economy will grow because of it, our businesses will benefit from it and our hard-working families depend on it."
Participants called on Congress to take action on the following items to help create and protect local jobs:
Bring Jobs Home Act (HR 5542/S 2884) Eliminates tax incentives to ship jobs overseas and rewards businesses that bring jobs back to the U.S.
Gives companies moving operations back to the U.S. a new 20 percent tax credit for moving expenses and pays for it by ending existing tax breaks that allows companies to deduct expenses associated with moving operations overseas.
Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act (HR 639) Allows for countervailing duties and/or antidumping provisions in currency trade cases
According to an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report released in 2010, "the Chinese Renminbi is undervalued by at least 35 percent to 40 percent, which makes U.S. goods at least 35 percent more expensive for Chinese purchasers and makes Chinese goods artificially cheap in the United States and around the world. The report estimates the China trade deficit is to blame for the loss of approximately 20,100 jobs in Western New York.
Call Center and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3596) Makes firms that move call centers offshore ineligible for federal grants or guaranteed loans.
In the last 4 years alone, over 500,000 US call center jobs have been outsourced to foreign nations. It is critical we reverse this alarming trend, especially since this sector provides growing opportunities for Western New York. According to a Buffalo Niagara Enterprise report, this region is home to over 50 companies with over 16,000 employees in customer contact centers and back office.
Congressman Higgins is a cosponsor of all three pieces of legislation and has also introduced the Nation Building Here at Home Act (HR 4352) which calls for a $1.2 trillion investment in U.S. infrastructure over the next 5 years.
The United Steelworkers represent more than 1.2 million active and retired workers in the United States.
The call to "Bring Jobs Home" was held at Xylem Inc. in Cheektowaga. Xylem is a multinational company that, through a partnership with USW, has successfully brought jobs in Mexico and China back to Western New York.