02.15.17

Peters Introduces Outsourcing Accountability Act

Bill Would Require Publicly Traded Companies to Disclose Number of Employees by Country

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today introduced the Outsourcing Accountability Act which will help consumers identify which companies are sending jobs overseas by requiring publicly traded companies to disclose their total numbers of employees by location, including by state and by country. The legislation will also require companies to report the total number of employees and percentage change in employment numbers for each state and country where they have operations. U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Peters in introducing the bill.

“It’s hard to hold companies accountable for gaming the system and shipping jobs overseas when it’s not even known where their employees are located,” said Senator Peters. “Consumers have a right to know if their hard-earned dollars are supporting American jobs, and this bill will help shine a light on the number of jobs companies are truly outsourcing. When they are given a level playing field, American workers will make the best product every time, and this legislation will help incentivize companies to show they are invested in creating and retaining American jobs.”

“We should export our products, not our jobs,” said Senator Stabenow. “Companies should be held accountable if they chose to move jobs out of this country and I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this legislation.”

“Americans deserve to know where companies invest," said Senator Donnelly. "Requiring public companies to disclose the location of employees will help investors and consumers learn which companies employ Americans and which companies outsource jobs to foreign countries.”

“What gets measured gets managed. This legislation will make it easier for the public and investors to discern which companies are hiring American workers and which companies are shipping jobs overseas,” said Senator Jack Reed.

“We need more transparency from companies that eliminate American jobs and ship them overseas,” said Senator Feinstein. “This bill requires companies to disclose exactly where their workers are located and how their workforce changed over the previous year. Both investors and consumers have the right to know if companies prioritize American workers.”

“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 overseas. 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.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, our growing trade deficit with China cost the U.S. 3.4 million jobs from 2011 to 2015, including 94,000 jobs in Michigan. However, the exact number of jobs lost to outsourcing can be difficult to estimate because the data is difficult to find. To attempt to an 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. The Outsourcing Accountability Act will make this information readily available to the public.