United Technologies Just Got More Lucrative Government Contracts After Offshoring Jobs To Mexico

Lori Wallach

Lori Wallach Director, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

United Technologies, the firm President Donald Trump spotlighted with his threat to punish companies offshoring jobs, is moving more than 1,000 of its Indiana Carrier jobs to Mexico despite Trump’s intervention. Instead of punishment, since Inauguration Day the major defense contractor has been awarded new lucrative government contracts.

Really. Fifteen new contracts.

Cutting off firms from obtaining lucrative government contracts paid with taxpayers’ funds should be a no-brainer for a president who pledged to fight offshoring. And it’s much easier than the things Trump pledged to do and has not: slap taxes on the goods offshoring firms ship back here and introduce and move in his first 100 days an “End the Offshoring Act.”

Public Citizen and Good Jobs Nation dug through two massive government databases to investigate whether UT was a fluke, or many of the nation’s major contractors are offshoring. The findings in a new report we released today are infuriating:

  • Fifty-six percent of the top 50 federal contractors in fiscal year 2016 were certified under just one narrow U.S. government program as having engaged in offshoring
  • Forty-one of the top 100 FY 2016 contractors were certified as having offshored jobs. Those firms received a shopping $176 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts in 2016, which adds up to more than a third of total contract spending for that year.
  • Not only UT, but chronic job offshorer General Electric has obtained new lucrative contracts since Trump entered the White House. GE has offshored the largest number of jobs of any of the top 50 federal contractors, more than 8,700.

And, our findings do not even capture the full scope of the problem even though we found that the top 100 commercial contractors have shifted at least 58,913 American jobs abroad.

Our study almost certainly undercounts the offshoring activities of major government contractors because we only counted job offshoring that was officially certified by the U.S. government under Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). (You can check for government-certified trade job loss in your state and community. Public Citizen has the entire database in a searchable form online.)

Trump’s inaction on this front is perverse given procurement policy is one of the most effective tools Trump has to counter offshoring.

TAA only provides a partial accounting of American jobs lost to offshoring. Until 2009, TAA did not include service-sector workers, so call centers and other “back office” functions were excluded. And there is no affirmative reporting requirement: A worker, union, company, or state labor department must know about TAA, decide to apply and then gather the information needed to prove the jobs were offshored, rather than lost to other factors.

So, the potential is even greater to make a real difference by forcing firms to choose between obtaining government contracts and offshoring their American workers’ jobs.

Trump’s inaction on this front is perverse given procurement policy is one of the most effective tools Trump has to counter offshoring. The U.S. government has a long tradition of using its contract spending – which currently adds up to $470 billion per year – to promote national policy goals. A share of federal government contracts must be awarded to small businesses and women- and minority-owned firms, and to qualify for government construction projects, firms must agree to pay workers prevailing wages.

And a U.S. president also has broad powers to enact “policies and directives” for federal contracting without congressional legislation.

President Lyndon Johnson used this authority when he issued Executive Order 11246 in 1965 prohibiting contractors from discriminating against any of their employees – not just those performing federal work – on grounds of race or gender. President Barack Obama relied on the same authority to set minimum wage for contractors “to promote economy and efficiency in procurement by contracting with sources who adequately compensate their workers” via Executive Order 13658 and to establish sick leave entitlements for federal contract employees with Executive Order 13706.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have proposed legislation that takes a more systematic approach to combatting corporate offshoring, including Senator Bernie Sanders’ “Outsourcing Prevention Act” and Senators Joe Donnelly, Sherrod Brown, and Kristen Gillibrand’s “End Outsourcing Act.” A common element in each proposal is that firms that choose to offshore should not be rewarded with government contracts or other government financial support.

To date, Trump also has not taken a position on these legislative initiatives, and without his active support, they have little prospect of passing a Republican-dominated Congress.

***

Reposted from The Huffington Post.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work