Betraying 'Hire American' Pledge, Trump Rewards Companies Offshoring US Jobs

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Betraying 'Hire American' Pledge, Trump Rewards Companies Offshoring US Jobs

Though he has the power, President Trump has yet to wield his executive authority to stop U.S. jobs from being shipped abroad

"Corporations that send call center jobs and other good jobs overseas shouldn't be rewarded with federal contracts," said the Communications Workers of America. "Despite the campaign promises of President Trump, that's exactly what’s happening." (Photo: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque)

"Corporations that send call center jobs and other good jobs overseas shouldn't be rewarded with federal contracts," said the Communications Workers of America. "Despite the campaign promises of President Trump, that's exactly what’s happening." (Photo: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque)

In yet another reminder of how corporate-friendly the Trump administration has been—despite campaign pledges to defend American workers and "buy American, hire American" rhetoric—a new study out Tuesday reveals that the president continues to reward U.S. companies who ship jobs overseas.

According to the analysis (pdf), conducted by Good Jobs Nation along with Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, "the flow of federal contract awards to major offshorers has continued unabated since Trump's inauguration."

"Even though he's signed over 60 executive orders during his first 100 days, he has yet to use the power of the pen to stop corporations that receive taxpayer dollars from shipping American jobs overseas."
—Joseph Geevarghese, Good Jobs Nation

The outsourcing of American jobs to other countries is a major issue for American voters, and helped propel President Donald Trump's victory in a number of economically distressed rust-belt states.

Despite this, as many as "56 percent of the top U.S. firms awarded the largest taxpayer-funded contracts in fiscal year (FY) 2016 engage in offshoring," the report notes. Further, 41 of the top 100 federal contractors—which in 2016 received a combined $176 billion in taxpayer dollars—have shipped jobs overseas and "many continue to do so today."

And while the president has not hesitated to wield his authority on a host of other matters, he has yet to take substantive action to bring back these jobs.

"Even though he's signed over 60 executive orders during his first 100 days, he has yet to use the power of the pen to stop corporations that receive taxpayer dollars from shipping American jobs overseas," said Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation.   

Moreover, the analysis notes that Trump's "highly publicized intervention against United Technologies' plans to offshore more than 2,000 jobs to Mexico from the Indiana-based manufacturing plants of its subsidiary Carrier," still ultimately led to the offshoring of more than 1,000 jobs.

At the time, Trump said he would punish Carrier and other firms by imposing a 35 percent tax on companies who relocate their plants or jobs to other countries. In reality, the federal government has rewarded United Technologies with 15 new contracts since Trump's inauguration, the report notes.

"Instead of delivering on his promises to end offshoring and create American jobs, Trump is rewarding companies that offshore with big contracts paid by our tax dollars," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

"He has not introduced the End [Outsourcing] Act," Wallach continued, "or launched the NAFTA renegotiations he promised for his first 100 days, and he caved on taking tough actions to reduce our huge job-killing China trade deficit."

In lieu of executive action, several lawmakers have proposed legislation that would help end such corporate offshoring. In addition to the End Outsourcing Act introduced by Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-N.Y.), this also includes Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) Outsourcing Prevention Act; as well as Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Rep. David McKinley's (R-W.Va.) Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act of  2017.

However, the analysis notes that "Trump has not taken a position on these legislative initiatives, and without his active support, they have little prospect of passing a Republican-dominated Congress."

Responding to the findings, Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued a statement saying that the study "quantifies the extent of offshoring by the largest U.S. government contractors as well as the absence of action by the Trump administration to keep good jobs in the U.S."

"Corporations that send call center jobs and other good jobs overseas shouldn't be rewarded with federal contracts," the workers union said. "Despite the campaign promises of President Trump, that's exactly what’s happening."

Further, CWA president Chris Shelton encouraged members of Congress to support the bipartisan Call Center Worker Act.

"Companies that receive lucrative federal government contracts to provide call center services are among the leading exporters of call center work to overseas locations, eliminating good jobs at home," Shelton said.

In fact, according to the study, the widespread offshoring by major telecom companies including T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T has "affected 18,000 working families and destroyed communities that depended on these jobs." At the same time, "these companies received $897 million in federal contracts in FY 2016 alone."

"That's not where our tax money should be going," Shelton continued, saying the government must "keep good jobs here and hold corporations accountable. That's what working people want."

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