WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined his Democratic colleagues Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Jack Reed (D-RI) last week to reintroduce the Outsourcing Accountability Act. This legislation would help identify businesses that are sending jobs to foreign countries by requiring publicly traded companies to publish reports detailing the number of employees per location, including by state and by country. This legislation would also direct these companies to disclose the total number of employees and percentage change in employment figures for each state and country where they and their subsidiaries currently operate.
“In order to recognize companies that hire American workers, we need more information on where workers are based,” said Brown. “It’s not enough to say you’re dedicated to employing American workers – this will hold companies to the promise to keep workers and business here at home.”
The bill is supported by the United Steelworkers and the United Auto Workers.
Currently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires publicly traded companies to disclose certain information about their employees, including the total number of employees and anticipated changes in the number of employees working in different corporate departments. However, companies are not required to publicly disclose where employees are based, making it very difficult to accurately track the number of jobs they are eliminating in the United States and moving to foreign countries. For example, a company could eliminate 700 American jobs and create 1,000 jobs abroad, but under current requirements without disclosing the location, those numbers would appear as a net gain of 300 jobs.
The exact number of jobs lost to outsourcing can be difficult to estimate because the data is difficult to find. To estimate, researchers have to look at a variety of data sources that can range from local newspaper stories in foreign media outlets to filings with foreign governments and even construction blueprints for new factories in other countries to guess at how many people the facilities might hold.
Brown has long fought to hold companies accountable for outsourcing and to promote domestic production. In 2017, Brown introduced bipartisan legislation to apply Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects. He also unveiled a blueprint last Congress to invest $1 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure, which includes several Buy America provisions.