USW: Christie’s ‘Buy American’ Veto a Betrayal of U.S. Workers

Legislation Aimed at Creating More Good-Paying American Jobs

Contact: John Shinn: (732) 287-4011, jshinn@usw.org

EDISON, N.J. (February 6) – The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed its extreme disappointment with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s decision yesterday to veto a package of bills that would have strengthened the state’s “Buy American” provisions and required government agencies to use more American-made goods in public projects.

“It’s mind-boggling that a so-called moderate with national political ambitions, who campaigned on the issue of job creation, would veto a common-sense measure that directly supports American workers and American manufacturers,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “These laws do not ‘build walls’ as the governor wrongly stated. Instead, they make sure that we reinvest our tax dollars and tolls into our own economy, promote good jobs and expand our tax base at home.”

According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), the United States has lost more than 6 million manufacturing jobs since 2001, more than 180,000 of those jobs in New Jersey.

“Our government should not be making things even more difficult for a sector of our economy that has already struggled for years due to bad trade deals, currency manipulation and other questionable practices by overseas competitors,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “This veto is a blatant betrayal of U.S. workers and U.S. companies at a time when they most need our support.”

A 2014 AAM poll of American voters showed that 77 percent supported Buy American laws.

“Poll after poll has shown that a huge majority of voters ­– whether they be Republican, Democrat or independent – supports Buy American programs,” said John Shinn, director of the USW’s District 4, which includes New Jersey. “For Gov. Christie to use his veto pen to ignore the will of the people and to reject the decision of a bipartisan group of elected lawmakers is disgraceful.”

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies. The USW’s District 4 includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Puerto Rico.

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