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U.S. Secretary of Labor, Union Leaders and Workers Call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home

California labor activists call on Congress to Bring Jobs Home.

This is a cross-post from the California Labor Federation's blog, Labor's Edge, by Danielle Tipton. 

There is no issue more important in California and America right now than jobs. All of us know someone struggling to find one—you might even be struggling to find one yourself. So why is our tax money helping to ship jobs to other countries?

Yesterday, I joined hundreds of California labor activists, along with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen, in San Francisco’s Union Square, where we rallied, chanted and danced to get our simple message across: Bring Our Jobs Home! It’s time to get rid of tax breaks that reward corporations that outsource jobs and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on creating American jobs, not shipping them overseas.

Communications technician and CWA member Christina Huggins has seen the impacts first-hand, as AT&T shipped jobs overseas before her very eyes. At the rally, she told me:

I started working in a five-building complex, and now we occupy just one floor…and when we look at our internal directory at AT&T, we see all of our jobs are now in Slovakia, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in Manila—all of these workers with the titles of what we used to do. And those were all good-paying, union jobs with pensions.

CWA President Larry Cohen detailed the pervasiveness of the problem.

It’s not just manufacturing jobs that are outsourced…it’s all of our jobs, anything they can move, they move. In five years, 500,000 call center jobs were moved out of this country.

There’s only one reason why greedy corporate CEOs are sending our jobs overseas: to pad their own pockets. In the meantime, the rest of us suffer trying to find work.

Mike Garcia, president of SEIU-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), says:

They choose to save money and ship our jobs overseas, while they pay themselves record CEO pay and record CEO bonuses. They are making more profits now than they have in decades—creating an economy where we have the largest economic disparity between working people and the rich than we’ve had since the Great Depression.

We can’t stop corporations from outsourcing altogether, but we can certainly lessen it. That’s why we’re calling for passage of legislation that would end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

At the rally, Solis underscored the importance of the Bring Jobs Home Act, which she called a “no-brainer in helping our middle class and economies grow.” If passed, this bill would eliminate these egregious tax breaks, but it was filibustered in the Senate last week.

Solis exclaimed:

We need to reform our tax code to provide tax breaks to companies that insource job and eliminate those loopholes that reward companies for moving jobs overseas.

In addition to the Bring Jobs Home Act, we also called for passage of A.B. 2508, which would ensure that all call centers for public services, such as CalWORKs, are staffed in California, instead of on the other side of the world.

Says Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (AD-11), sponsor of A.B. 2508:

Taxpayer dollars should not be paying for jobs outside of the United States of America. When we keep our call centers here, we’re building jobs and helping to build the economy.

These efforts—and others focused on curbing outsourcing—are critical to getting our economy back on track. It just doesn’t make economic sense for these jobs to leave our country. It’s time to see that “Made in America” seal again. It is time, as Secretary Solis said to the crowd, to be

in with insourcing, out with outsourcing.

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