WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) today welcomed the House of Representatives’ passage of the Outsourcing Accountability Act. The House passed this bill Friday afternoon and Brown urged Republican leadership to act rather than let this important legislation sit in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard. Brown joined Sens. Gary Peters (MI), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Jack Reed (RI) in reintroducing the Senate version of this bill earlier this year.
The Outsourcing Accountability Act would identify businesses that are sending jobs to foreign countries and require publicly traded companies to publish reports detailing the number of employees per location, including by state and by country. The bill would also direct these businesses 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 Senator 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. Peters has long pushed efforts in Congress to require companies to publicize these figures. He first introduced legislation on this issue in 2012 as a member of the House of Representatives.
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.