As ThinkProgress has previously reported, over a million jobs have been lost due to outsourcing since 1994. One of the main organizations promoting outsourcing has been the US Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been taking money from foreign corporations and holding clinics on how to outsource American jobs, such as one sponsored by billionaire Sheldon Adelson “inviting local businesses in Florida to come to Jacksonville and learn about outsourcing from Chinese government officials like Li Haiyan, the Counselor for Economic Affairs for the People’s Republic of China, U.S. Chamber lobbyist Joseph Fawkner, and BChinaB.”
Last week, The Wonk Room sat down with United Steel Workers International President Leo Gerard and three members of the USW labor union. Among the topics we discussed were the Chamber’s practice of encouraging outsourcing. Gerard called these actions a “disgrace,” adding that “it’s no longer U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce or the Chinese Chamber of Commerce”:
WR: It was revealed a couple weeks ago that the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is one of these big outside spending groups in the election, is actually receiving a lot of their funding from foreign companies and whatnot. What’s your take on that situation, particularly given how much of a major player they have been in the election against candidates who are supported by labor?
Gerard: I think the Chamber is a disgrace. They pretend they are getting money and that they are not using it for political purposes, but we all know money is fungible, as they say. So if you get money from once source you can divert it and use money for something else. [...]
WR: It was revealed last week that the Chamber has actually been intimately involved with many Chinese companies in terms of helping hold seminars teaching American companies how outsource jobs to China. What’s your take on that?
GERARD: As I said, it’s no longer U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It’s the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce or the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and what they have done is become a consulting firm to teach companies how to move jobs out of America. And they have opposed of all things, they have opposed giving a tax break, giving an incentive, for a company to bring a job back from offshore to America, and yet they have supported giving tax breaks for companies that will move jobs out of America. That’s perverse, that’s against the national interest, and no other society would tolerate that. [...]
Despite efforts by the Obama administration to end the tax breaks given to companies that are funneling jobs overseas, both Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have repeatedly blocked their efforts.
We also caught up with three USW labor union members – Bonnie Carey, Harold Philip, and Glen Dunaway – and talked with them about how outsourcing is affecting American workers. That interview is below the jump. Read more