The Stand

Former K-C workers urge Bring Jobs Home Act passage

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EVERETT (July 9) — In the past decade, 50,000 manufacturing sites closed and 6 million American jobs were lost because of offshoring and outsourcing. The Kimberly-Clark mill in Everett — which was shut down for good earlier this year, directly costing 750 people their family-wage jobs and impacting thousands more jobs in the community — is yet another example.

From left, State Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett), Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson, and State Reps. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish) and John McCoy (D-Everett) at Monday’s “Bring Jobs Home” event.

Labor, political and community leaders held a “Bring Jobs Home” event Monday at the former Kimberly-Clark mill site to call for passage of H.R. 5542, the Bring Jobs Home Act, which could be voted upon in Congress as soon as this week. The legislation would eliminate tax breaks allowing companies to deduct expenses associated with moving operations overseas, while still encouraging them to assist displaced workers. It also would provide a tax credit to corporations that bring jobs back to the United States.

At Monday’s event, staff for U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd) announced that he has signed onto H.R. 5542 as one of 47 co-sponsors. U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7th) is also a co-sponsor.

Monday’s event was part of the AFL-CIO’s nationwide “Bring Jobs Home” campaign to support investing in America, rebuilding our nation, and stop rewarding corporations that ship production, jobs and innovation overseas. It was organized by the Washington State Labor Council, the Snohomish County Labor Council and the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, which represented the workers at the K-C mill.

BACKGROUND — When the Kimberly-Clark plant was shut down earlier this year, the company said the pulp business was no longer profitable there. K-C’s 2011 Annual Report said that closure of six mills, including Everett’s, was part of a “restructuring plan” that included “transfer (of) some production to lower-cost facilities in order to improve overall profitability and returns.”

Free-trade agreements negotiated and signed by the U.S. government require no minimum environmental or labor standards, so countries willing to pollute the land/water and exploit workers can manufacture pulp and paper products, among many other things, far cheaper than is possible in America. The 750 workers who lost their jobs at the K-C mill have been certified as eligible for federal Trade Act benefits, meaning the federal government acknowledges that the loss of their jobs was indeed related to trade and overseas competition.

Incredibly, U.S. tax policy actually rewards companies that offshore American jobs with tax incentives. Kimberly-Clark received Washington state tax incentives to purchase equipment that it is now shipping to overseas plants.

That is what the AFL-CIO’s Bring Jobs Home campaign is all about: calling attention to the offshoring of American manufacturing, and urge our elected leaders to support trade, tax and other policies that create jobs right here.

Text JOBS to 235246 to get info and action alerts to help bring America’s jobs home.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the United States must develop a strategic jobs plan through measures like the Bring the Jobs Home Act, fair trade policies, curtailing currency manipulation and closing tax loopholes that allow U.S. corporations to shelter overseas profits.

Every major industrial country has a strategic plan to create and keep good jobs. It’s time for us to follow suit. We need a real plan that lives up to our patriotic ideals — a plan to put our people back to work and end the tax breaks and flawed trade policies that encourage rampant offshoring.

 

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