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U.S. Rep. Gary Peters Introduces Outsourcing Accountability Act

Peters’ Bill would give consumers and investors the information they need to support American jobs and hold outsourcers accountable

Washington, D.C. - This morning, as reported by the Washington Post, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (MI) introduced the Outsourcing Accountability Act with lead cosponsors U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (NY) and U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney (CA). This common sense legislation would help consumers and investors make informed choices about whether they want to spend their hard earned dollars on companies that create American jobs or companies that outsource them.

Right now when publicly traded companies file their annual SEC reports, they are required to disclose the number of employees they have. The Outsourcing Accountability Act would simply require these companies to disclose these same figures except they would need to breakdown the numbers by country and state in America.

From 2000-2009, multinational corporations cut 2.9 million U.S. jobs while adding 2.4 million overseas.

We need to do everything in our power to fight the outsourcing of American jobs and this bill gives consumers and investors the information they need to make an informed choice,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Peters. “The families I represent in Michigan want to see their hard earned dollars supporting American jobs. By making corporate outsourcing data transparent, consumers will have the power to stand up for American companies while holding outsourcers accountable.”

“Transparency is absolutely critical in making sure that we keep good jobs here in America.  People have the right to know which companies are shipping jobs overseas, and which companies are creating jobs for well-qualified Americans.  We must be committed to growing our economy to keep America competitive in the international market, and ensuring that U.S. citizens have a path to finding good-paying jobs.  We need to be focused on creating jobs here at home—not sending them overseas,” said U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney

“All jobs are not created equal, and Americans deserve to know whether the jobs a company is creating are in America or overseas,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop. “The first step in incentivizing the creation of jobs in America is having an honest assessment of our companies' employment practices and empowering the American people to reward good corporate citizens who hire American workers, if they choose to do so.”

Backgrounder on the Outsourcing Accountability Act of 2012:

The Outsourcing Accountability Act of 2012

Outsourcing’s Impact on our Economy

  • Jobs Lost: The Washington Post reports that between 2000 and 2009, multinational corporations cut 2.9 million U.S. jobs while adding 2.4 million overseas.  A study cited by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service estimates that as many as 3.4 million service sector jobs alone could have moved abroad by 2015.  Annual job loss to offshoring has been estimated to be around 300,000, significantly slowing net job creation at a time when we need it most.
  • Jobs at Risk: The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that of 515 distinct occupations, 160 may be susceptible to transfer offshore.  In 2007, there were some 30 million jobs in these 160 offshorable service-providing occupations; they accounted for over one-fifth of total employment in that year.

The Need for Transparency

  • Current SEC Reporting Requirements: Publicly traded companies must disclose certain information in registration statements, prospectuses, and other periodic mandatory filings, including: a general description of the company’s business, a description of the company’s principal products and services, and a description of the company’s subsidiaries.  Companies must also disclose the total number of employees that they have and anticipated changes in the number of employees working in various corporate departments.
  • No Disclosure of Location of Employees: Currently, corporations must disclose their total number of employees, but not where they are based.  Elimination of 700 jobs in the U.S. and the creation of 1,000 jobs abroad would register only as a net gain of 300 jobs. 
  • Policymakers: With unemployment above 8% and persistently high unemployment rates predicted in the coming years, policymakers at every level of government must look at all credible options for creating jobs.  Analyzing the effectiveness of past and future job creation policies is difficult without knowing whether corporations benefitting from tax incentives or other policies are creating jobs at home or abroad.
  • Investors: Responsible investors have a right to know how publicly traded corporations are spending their money and whether they are hiring and investing in the U.S. or sending their earnings overseas.  Where companies are hiring or laying off employees could be determinative, material information for potential investors.

New SEC Disclosure Necessary: Where are the jobs?

  • Employees by Country and State: The Outsourcing Accountability Act will add location of employees to annual SEC disclosure requirements.  New reports must disclose the total number of employees in the U.S. broken out by State, as well as the total number of employees abroad broken out by country.  The SEC is given the authority to issue regulations to implement this measure.
  • Change in Employees: The Outsourcing Accountability Act will also require companies to report the percentage increase or decrease in employment numbers corresponding with each state and country. 
  • Helping Consumers Buy American:  As we work to end the recession, consumers should have the right to know whether their hard earned dollars are supporting American jobs or not. Once this information becomes public, companies that employ more American workers than their competitors will have an economic incentive to advertise that they’re supporting American jobs.
  • Common Sense Exemption for Recent Initial Public Offerings: The legislation exempts companies for the first five years after their IPO to avoid increasing compliance burdens on newly-public employers.