Senator Kirsten Gillibrand appeared in Amherst Friday afternoon, joined by local elected and union leaders, to tout a bill which supporters say would discourage the outward flow of jobs to points overseas.
What is known as the End Outsourcing Act would disqualify companies that outsource foreign labor from receiving federal tax incentives. It would also prevent any companies which have outsourced over the last three years from applying for federal loans and grants. And, it would offer a 20 percent tax credit to companies that return jobs to U.S. soil.
"My legislation would establish a federal guideline that requires the federal government to consider companies' outsourcing behavior when assessing whether they get a federal contract or not," Gillibrand said. "It would require the government to make an effort to prioritize entering contract contracts with companies that keep jobs the United States."
Gillibrand was joined by State Assemblymember Karen McMahon and Amherst Town Supervisor Brian Kulpa, both of whom expressed gratitude for putting forth the proposal. Also appearing were John Mudie, president and CWA Local 1122 and Denise Abbott, president of the Buffalo Labor Council.
"The End Outsourcing Act that the senator has put forward is legislation that middle class, manufacturing and organized labor but most importantly working families in Western New York support," Abbott said. "It holds wealthy multinational companies accountable to pay their fair share. It encourages them to continue to create positions that strengthen and enrich our communities with good pay and benefits."
Speakers identified several multinational companies including AT&T, General Electric and Verizon as entities which have profited at the expense of American working families. Gillibrand pointed to Ingersoll-Rand, which ceased manufacturing at its Cheektowaga facility last year, impacting 300 jobs. Abbott pointed to New Era Cap, which remains headquartered in downtown Buffalo but closed its longtime factory in Derby.
"It's not just manufacturing in Buffalo. Workers in computer services, telecom and more are losing jobs when companies decide to outsource," Gillibrand said. "Right now, the federal government is doing little to prevent the exportation of jobs overseas. In some cases, our government is enabling and partnering with the companies that are taking our jobs out of the hands of New Yorkers. Hard-earned taxpayer money should not be supplementing outsourcing. As the federal government, we have a responsibility to hold companies accountable and ensure that our policies reward companies that invest in American jobs."
In addition to Gillibrand, fellow Democrats Tammy Baldwin and Gary Peters are co-sponsoring the legislation in the Senate. Tom Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, is introducing the bill in the House of Representatives.
"I believe over the next weeks and months, we can get some Republican co-sponsors, because there's lots of red and purple states that have the same problem with manufacturing," said Gillibrand. "And everyone knows that the Trump tax cut really did harm workers, because it gave so many advantages to corporations who do ship jobs overseas. And so we need to make sure that we put our priorities first."