January 16, 2020
(Washington, D.C.) — Iowa Third District Congresswoman Cindy Axne is continuing her push against companies who outsource jobs to other countries.
This week, Axne introduced the Offshoring Notification Act in response to massive layoffs at Wells Fargo in Des Moines just over one year ago. Axne says the over 400 workers who lost their jobs were not told that their positions were being sent overseas.
“One of my key jobs here is to make sure that we bring good jobs to Iowa,” said Axne. “That means not just bringing them there, but protecting the jobs that we have. In the same month when I was elected — last November 2018 — there were Iowa workers that were laid off from Wells Fargo, about 400. They weren’t given information about why they were laid off. They believed that they were laid off because the jobs were being outsourced, but they weren’t given that information.”
The bill would require layoff notices to clarify whether an employer plans to continue producing the good or providing the service the affected employees were producing or providing. It would then require the company to state if they intend to do that outside of the U.S. Axne says it is critical for laid off workers to know if their job has been outsourced.
“That means those folks are supposed to be entitled to Trade Adjustment Assistance that will help them get the skills training and work development resources they need to find a new job and to be successful,” said Axne. “Those folks who were laid off well over a year ago petitioned for that Trade Adjustment Assistance and that finally came through a year later.”
In the Wells Fargo situation, Axne said the lack of information delayed assistance for the affected workers.
“These folks weren’t being told the truth,” said Axne. “They were being told that their jobs weren’t being outsourced, when in fact they were. The Trade Adjustment Assistance would not have come through if they hadn’t been outsourced. In no way, shape or form should it take a year for people to get the assistance they need when a company lays people off in our own country and then sets up jobs in another country.”
The legislation is a companion piece to a bill introduced by Axne in October that was passed by the House. That bill requires publicly traded companies to disclose where their employees are located by state and country in their annual report.
“The first one was to insure American companies disclosed where their employees were, either in the state or in another country,” said Axne. “This second piece will put those corporations on notice that they are being looked at, and if they are going to lay people off, they better make sure that they are not outsourcing those jobs. But if they are outsourcing those jobs, then they need to make it right by the people in our state and across the country. That’s what this bill does.”