Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Thanks to what Texas AFL-CIO President Becky Moeller calls a “historic, robust bipartisan effort,” the Texas Legislature approved on Monday a “Buy American” provision for water projects that establishes a preference for iron, steel and manufactured goods produced in the United States. Says Moeller:
For the first time in memory, Texas, under this legislation, will give strong priority to American goods and products in the course of major construction projects. The Texas Legislature deserves high commendation from working families for sending a message that buying American creates jobs. This bill will benefit our economy.
The Buy American provision included a major water development bill (H.B. 4) and includes a requirement that iron and steel products and manufactured goods used in the project be produced in the United States. The bill received overwhelming support, passing 141-4 in the House and 30-1 in the Senate.
Earlier in the session lawmakers approved a “Buy Texan, Buy American” bill that applies to state purchases of manufactured goods. Texas AFL-CIO Communications Director Ed Sills says both bills ”have the potential to create jobs in Texas and in the U.S.”
The labor movement has always been about good jobs. In a legislative session that had the look of potential disaster on several fronts at the start, seeing two “Buy American” ideas succeed in bipartisan fashion is a signal accomplishment that is at the core of what we do.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to sign the bill.
Tags: aflcio, buy american, insourcing, Jobs, outsourcing, Texas
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Current laws in the United States allow corporations to use offshore havens to avoid paying their taxes and, if it’s up to many in Washington, the problem will only grow larger, particularly if the so-called “territorial” tax system is passed. The details of the use of such tax havens were discussed in a conference call with Campaign for America’s Future (CAF), Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ).
Current tax laws encourage the offshoring of America’s jobs, manufacturing and profit centers, which has led to the hollowing out of the middle class, manufacturing and much of the country, according to Dave Johnson of CAF. Changes in the tax code in recent decades have led to a series of dangerous statistics for America’s working families:
- Corporate tax revenues as a share of GDP are at near historically low levels.
- In 2009, the U.S. share of GDP made up of corporate tax revenues was only 1.7%.
- The top corporate tax rate in 1970 was 52.8%, now it is 35% (although the effective rate is much lower).
- The United States has the third-lowest effective corporate tax burden in the world.
- Corporate taxation as a share of total tax revenue was 26.4% in 1950 and was down to 7.4% in 2010.
- Personal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes were 51.4% of total tax revenue in 1950, now they are up to 83.4%.
Congress is now proposing lowering corporate taxes even more and even, possibly, eliminating taxes on earnings reported as having been earned outside the country.
ATF has been working to highlight the massive corporate tax loopholes big corporations exploit, says the organization’s campaign manager, Frank Clemente. Those loopholes allow some corporations, such as General Electric—who had an effective corporate tax rate of 12% in 2011—to pay less in taxes than individuals. There are currently $1.6 trillion in corporate revenues waiting offshore. The corporations who own those revenues want Congress to pass a new tax holiday (previous holidays taxed those profits at only 5%, instead of the standard corporate tax rate) or a territorial tax system, wherein U.S. corporations would pay no taxes on foreign profits. Clemente says that would create an incentive for corporations to ship more and more revenues overseas, as well as shipping manufacturing, patents and jobs to countries with no corporate taxes.
CTJ works to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws. It focuses on exposing corporations that pay little or no taxes. CTJ argued that the tax code needs to be reformed, but in a way that ends incentives to shift profits and jobs offshore. Currently, corporations have heavy incentives to disguise U.S. profits as offshore profits to avoid paying taxes.
An example of this problem is a report from the Congressional Research Service that found in 2008 that American multinational corporations reported earning 43% of their $940 billion in foreign profits in five tiny tax-haven countries that house only 4% of their foreign workforce and 7% of their foreign investments.
The three organizations say they have three basic policies they favor to deal with tax havens and the offshoring of America’s profits and jobs.
- Rejecting revenue-neutral tax plans that close loopholes and lower statutory tax rates. Instead they favor revenue-positive tax proposals that would increase government revenue.
- Closing tax loopholes that encourage the offshoring of profits, and making sure foreign profits for U.S. corporations are taxed at the same rate as domestic profits. One example of legislation that would accomplish this is a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt,), the Corporate Tax Fairness Act, that would require corporations to pay the same tax rate on domestic or foreign profits and would raise $590 billion over 10 years.
- Rejecting the territorial tax system, which they call “tax havens on steroids.”
Tags: aflcio, ceo, CEO Pay, inequality, Jobs, outsourcing, tax fairness, taxes
Throughout August, the Working America Greensboro office has been working hard to hold North Carolina Sensators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr accountable for their recent votes on outsourcing and middle-class tax cuts.
Over the past few weeks, Working America has gathered more than 400 petition signatures urging Senator Burr to stop supporting companies that outsource jobs and to call for an end to tax breaks for the richest 2 percent of Americans.
Working America member Sarah Baldwin describes why outsourcing is detrimental to North Carolina: “High Point has been hit hard by outsourcing, affecting many workers. With loss jobs, people loss income, health care coverage and sometimes even their homes. Senator Burr’s vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act shows he is not looking out for the average person.”
Added Scott Gillentine of Winston-Salem: “North Carolina has one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation. Please explain to me, Senator Burr, why there are tax cuts on the wealthy when so few jobs have been created by them?”
Yesterday, Working America teamed up with the AFL-CIO and progressive allies to deliver the petitions to Senator Burr’s office. Everyone was excited to collaborate and to ensure that Senator Burr looks out for the interest of his middle class constituents.
Earlier in the day, Senator Kay Hagan received thank you letters from working families expressing their gratitude for her votes to end outsourcing and end tax subsidies for the richest Americans.
Tags: Jobs, North Carolina, outsourcing
Reposted from the AFL-CIO NOW Blog
Although Mitt Romney continues to try and distance himself from his record of offshoring U.S. jobs overseas during his tenure at Bain Capital, a newreport by the Financial Times’ Robin Harding shows there were even more anti-worker tactics occurring under Romney’s watch at the company. Now we might understand more about why he boasted earlier this year that he’s “taken on union bosses before.”
According to the U.S. District Court and federal documents, Key Airlines, controlled by Bain Capital at the time, ran an unlawful campaign to stop the organization of a union in the 1980s. Mitt Romney was a director of the airline, according to regulatory filings, and a shareholder in the company. The Financial Times put together this report with documents from the National Mediation Board in 1986 and a 1992 judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
Financial Times reports:
Key Airlines, an early investment for the private equity firm founded by a young Mitt Romney and two associates, broke the law by attempting to coerce and then dismiss two pilots who tried to organize a union. Two months after a union vote failed, Bain agreed to sell Key Airlines at a large profit in 1986.
Those two Key Airlines pilots later brought the union suppression case to court. In 1992, Roger Foley, federal judge for the District of Nevada, wrote:
The anti-union activities in this case are not merely unfair labor practices as Key argues, but blatant, grievous, willful, deliberate and repeated violations of the Railway Labor Act.
According to the Financial Times:
Key Airlines was a small charter carrier with a military contract to ferry personnel to bases in the Nevada desert. The union effort was suppressed under Bain’s ownership in 1985 and 1986, although a court judgment against the company and its management—including Bain Capital founding partner T. Coleman Andrews III—did not come until 1992. The judgment was later qualified by a subsequent court ruling in 1994, together with an agreement to settle an appeal.
Citing safety concerns in 1985, Key Airlines pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers planned to organize a union.
Financial Times reports management began to coerce the pilots after they heard a union was forming:
According to the court ruling, Key held coercive meetings with pilots; said management would leave and the company lose contracts; and told pilots that salaries, bonuses and benefits could be frozen. Federal labor law forbids an airline “to interfere in any way with the organization of its employees.”
Although outsourcer-in-chief Mitt Romney would like us to believe he invested in companies that created U.S. jobs, his record of shipping jobs overseas at Bain Capital speaks for itself.
Now, we have suppressing workers’ right to collectively bargain to the long list of anti-worker tactics Romney and Bain Capital employed.
Read more on Key Airlines here.
Tags: Jobs, Mitt Romney, outsourcing, Rights At Work
With 16,000 members and growing, Working America is ready to make an impact in the 2012 elections for North Carolina working families.
A story in The Nation by Ari Berman details the political dynamics of North Carolina, and asks if President Obama can win the state like he did in 2012. While that’s difficult to predict, one thing is clear: North Carolinans are tired of corporations getting tax breaks to send their jobs offshore, and they are tired of politicians who campaigned on job creation but then ignored the state’s jobs crisis once in office.
There’s no question that Mitt Romney and his fellow partisans fit that bill: Mitt Romney, the Republican standard-bearer for President, is no stranger to outsourcing. And Republican Senator Richard Burr voted just this past July to filibuster (or, “avoid talking about”) the Bring Jobs Home Act, which would’ve ended those tax break for companies who move jobs overseas. (The other North Carolina Senator, Democrat Kay Hagan, strongly supported the bill.)
Berman tagged along with one of our canvassers one evening:
Working America signs up “working-class moderates” who don’t have a union job but respond favorably to a populist economic message. Organizers do this the old-fashioned way: knocking on door after door…
We talked to housewives, truck drivers, teachers, cashiers, construction workers and nurses. Jobs and healthcare were the main concerns. Brandon [the canvasser] told them about the Bring Jobs Home Act, which would end tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas. “We’re out here today to keep good jobs in North Carolina, not send them abroad,” he said during his pitch. The issue of outsourcing could play a decisive role in the campaign. “North Carolinians are folks who have read over and over and over again about their textile jobs and other manufacturing jobs going overseas,” Farinella says. “So it is my expectation that this issue of Romney’s role in Bain Capital—and the notion that Bain shipped jobs overseas—is likely to resonate in North Carolina to a greater extent than it even resonates nationally.”
Since the beginning of the year, Working America in North Carolina has swelled to over 16,000 members. We’re going to be pounding the pavement, educating voters about how their politicians have acted – or not acted – to get folks employed and keep jobs from leaving the country.
To get involved with Working America in North Carolina, sign up here or call our Greensboro office at (336) 288-4970.
Tags: Jobs, Mitt Romney, North Carolina, outsourcing
The residents of the Triad in North Carolina got some good news earlier this summer: Ralph Lauren plans to expand its operation in High Point, NC with a $142 million investment that could put as many as 500 people to work.
The devil, however, is in the details:
The company was offered a grant of up to $500,000 from the state’s One North Carolina Fund for the expansion and a Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth $2.5 million. Guilford County offered the company a $1.5 million incentive package and High Point offered $2 million in incentives.
Will all those incentives pay off? It’s certainly possible, but it reminds us of another side of Ralph Lauren, that of aggressive outsourcer. Many Americans were outraged to discover that the uniforms Ralph Lauren made for the U.S. Olympic Team were manufactured in China.
It also reminds us that a bill to end tax breaks for outsourcers and create tax incentives for insourcers, the Bring Jobs Home Act, was filibustered by a minority of Republican Senators including Richard Burr, the senior Senator from North Carolina. (NC’s other Senator, Democrat Kay Hagan, voted to bring the bill to the floor.)
Had the Bring Jobs Home Act become law, the calculus for a company like Ralph Lauren would be quite different. The tax code wouldn’t favor sending those jobs offshore, and the incentives for “insourcing” would’ve taken pressure off of North Carolina’s cash-strapped communities, who in this case had to pony up millions in incentives by themselves.
This is a big deal for the Tarheel State. Since 1994, North Carolina has lost 46.2 percent of its manufacturing jobs. Working America member and High Point resident Patricia McKinney wrote to the Greensboro News-Record that while the Ralph Lauren expansion is a welcome step, it’s only a baby step in the right direction:
Regarding Ralph Lauren’s $142 million expansion in High Point: It is great that Ralph Lauren is investing more in High Point, but this is only a start in returning jobs to the area.
Jobs are scarce in High Point. The few postings there involve specific skills that many people lack. There are jobs in Greensboro and Charlotte, but many individuals don’t have resources, like gas, to get to them. More industries, like Ralph Lauren, should invest in High Point to get people back on their feet. We should not outsource furniture and textile jobs anymore. Too many people are jobless.
More companies should be given tax incentives to come back here. High Point residents cannot get back to work unless companies return to the area.
Tags: Jobs, North Carolina, outsourcing
Working America members in Greensboro, North Carolina are working hard to bring jobs back to the United States. Over the past decade, many North Carolinians have witnessed the outsourcing of furniture and textile jobs to China, Mexico, India, and other countries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46.2% of North Carolina’s manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1994.
Currently companies receive tax breaks to ship their industries overseas. This tax break needs to end and the reverse to happen to impact workers here in the United States. Companies should be given tax incentives to bring their industries back to the United States. With the North Carolina unemployment rate over 9%, jobs need to be brought back to the United States.
If the Senate passed the Bring Jobs Home Act, we could get back to work. We’ve worked hard to make that a reality—and the fight isn’t over.
Last Thursday, Working America presented Senator Hagan’s aides over 150 hand written letters collected over the last two weeks from members of Working America. These letters illuminate why the Bring Jobs Home act is so important.
“I am currently unemployed and I also run a small business from the months of January through April,” said Evette Lattimore, a Working America member. “My son and I are actively looking for work, but have found limited success. Jobs need to come back to North Carolina. Please vote yes on the Bring Jobs Home Act.”
The aides were excited to receive the letters and to hear our thoughts on the Bring Jobs Home Act.
The effects of outsourcing are seen nationwide, not just in North Carolina. We’re pleased to see that Senator Hagan voted the right way yesterday, and we’ll keep fighting to make sure our leaders are looking out for our jobs.
Tags: Jobs, North Carolina, outsourcing
Working America members sent thousands of messages to their U.S. Senators over the past few weeks in support of the Bring Jobs Home Act, which ends tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and creates a tax incentive for American companies to bring jobs back home.
The vote that was held today was the vote to consider the bill. Since 2009, Republicans in the Senate have required 60 votes to invoke cloture on every piece of legislation, and today was no different. To actually debate the bill, 60 Senators needed to vote on the affirmative.
The final vote on the motion was 56 to 42. With the exception of Senators Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe, every Republican Senator voted to not even consider the Bring Jobs Home Act.
We want to be clear about what this vote says. The motion was not to ban outsourcing, or to dictate what companies can and can’t do. The motion was to change the law so that American taxpayers are no longer subsidizing companies moving expenses when they pick up and leave town. The motion was to change the law so American workers no longer pay to help companies ship their jobs away.
Not only did 42 Republicans vote to say “you should pay to lose your jobs.” They voted to say, “we don’t even want to talk about this problem.”
That’s interesting. Because everywhere we turn we see a Republican Senator criticizing the President over unemployment. But it’s all part of the game for them.
They criticize a Recovery Act that they watered down and then tried to filibuster.
They criticize lack of action on jobs after filibustering the American Jobs Act, the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, and the Rebuild America Jobs Act.
They praise the policies of governors who institute enormous budget cuts at the state level, which economists say is a key reason unemployment remains high.
They criticize the President’s action on immigration after filibustering the DREAM Act.
And now today, the script again repeats itself. “It’s outrageous that taxpayers are paying companies to send jobs abroad,” said the bill’s sponsor, Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, “Instead of giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, Congress should cut taxes for U.S. companies that bring jobs back to America. We are going to continue to work to get Congress to put politics aside, put American jobs first and pass this bill.”
We agree. If your Senator refused to debate the Bring Jobs Home Act today, tell them how you feel about their vote. Call now.
Tags: Jobs, outsourcing
The following is a statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Today, the U.S. Senate had a golden opportunity to fix some of the policies that have contributed to the outsourcing of millions of U.S. jobs and the closing of tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities. Instead, 42 Senate Republicans stood firm with Mitt Romney and his 1 percent lobbyist friends to block S. 3364, the Bring Jobs Home Act – ensuring that offshoring companies can keep their tax breaks. Senators who voted to protect outsourcers should not expect accolades from ordinary Americans, who want to see a lot less of the party label and more of the “Made in America” label from the people they send to represent them in the Senate.
Nor should Mitt Romney be surprised that voters disapprove of the outsourcing and other practices that made him more rich and workers less secure. It isn’t his wealth and success that are at issue – it is that the foundation of his economic success was sending jobs offshore and laying off workers. As the Center for American Progress reported this week, Mitt Romney’s economic policy proposals – especially on territorial taxation — would actually accelerate the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries.
For weeks, working families across the country have been gathering outside the offices of elected officials and corporations, demanding they bring jobs home and invest in America. We won’t be stopping now. Expect to see us touting patriotic leaders and companies and calling out leaders who want to keep jobs the top American export. In November, it’s time to do even more than bring jobs home. Let’s bring home the politicians who support the privileged and the powerful over the interests of working men and women.
Tags: Jobs, outsourcing
The Senate will be voting whether or not to debate the Bring Jobs Home Act on the morning of Thursday, July 19.
RSVP below to join our #BringJobsHome Twitter Flashmob.
All you have to do is tweet at your Senator with the #BringJobsHome hashtag and tell them why they should vote to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
We kick off on Thursday, July 19 at 10am. Follow @WorkingAmerica and @AFLCIO for updates.
Tags: Jobs, outsourcing