Union Leaders Focus On Jobs At White House Summit.
WASHINGTON – Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and Auto Workers President Bob King spent their time at a Jan. 11 White House summit focusing on investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, the Steelworkers said.
Gerard and King joined a carload of business leaders, Democratic President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Gov. John Kitzhaber, D-Ore., among others, at the session. They focused on incentives to get companies to “insource” jobs to the U.S., rather than ship them overseas.
In conjunction with the summit, Obama released a $12 million proposal to expand current U.S. programs that lobby firms to invest and create jobs here.
“As the economy struggles in its recovery from its worst crisis in more than a generation, no issue outweighs the need to create quality, family-supporting jobs in the U.S.,” Gerard said after the summit. “The Steelworkers are proud to work with the president, his administration, business leaders and others toward that goal.”
Gerard spent his time at the summit reiterating points he has made before to Obama, about the need for investment in high-quality, high-paying factory jobs and in rebuilding the crumbling U.S. infrastructure, a Steelworkers spokesman said.
The summit produced no specific ideas to encourage insourcing, but provided examples of firms –- including unionized Ford Motor Company –- doing just that. The White House called the summit “a roundtable discussion” featuring stories, from Ford, DuPont, Intel and others, about firms returning jobs to the U.S.
“Ford’s competitive labor agreement with its UAW partners is making it possible to build small cars profitably in the U.S., invest $16 billion here at home, and add 12,000 jobs in U.S. plants by 2015,” an administration fact sheet on summit participants said.
“Ford is insourcing jobs from China, Japan and Mexico. Instead of adding production for the Fusion in Mexico, Ford is planning to bring that additional work to its Flat Rock plant in Michigan. This insourcing effort will ensure the viability of a key assembly plant in the U.S. and add over 1,200 new jobs. Also, Ford has committed to in-source the production of F-650 and F-750 commercial trucks from a joint venture in Mexico to Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake,” the fact sheet adds.
The administration released its own blueprint, to be included in its budget to be sent to Congress in a few weeks, for federal “lobbying” for businesses to invest and expand in the U.S. Obama also said his budget plan would include new investment tax incentives, but did not detail them.
The centerpiece of the White House plan is expanding the SelectUSA program, which the administration launched last year, by $12 million and 35 more workers.
Obama calls SelectUSA “the first federal program to promote and facilitate U.S. investment in partnership with our states.” The program will also work with the states on more than 300 cases per year to overcome investment obstacles.
Obama also wants to increase current federal small business international trade loans to up to $5 million per loan, with a 90% federal loan guarantee. The loans would go to small businesses trying to expand overseas, which face competition from subsidized foreign imports, or who are trying to insource jobs from abroad.
This article was written by Press Associates, Inc.,