Last year, New Yorkers were rightfully outraged when the MTA outsourced $34 million in steel production and fabrication for renovations to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Chinese companies.
The revelation that our public dollars were being used to support jobs in another country was shocking, leading many to ask, “How is this even possible?” Sadly, it is, and it isn’t a onetime anomaly. Chinese companies have won contracts for subway renovations, bridge repairs, and commuter rail projects.
Foreign companies can produce products cheaper, but the problem is they are not competing fairly. In 2011, 46% of the top steel companies were state-owned, and accounted for 40% of worldwide production. This government subsidization allows these companies to “dump” their product at cut rate prices that harm our own domestic production. Dumping is widespread with charges having been leveled at France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, Indonesia and the list goes on and on.
To level the playing field, New York procurement laws should be amended to encourage the use of American produced steel, iron, and manufactured goods. There are some preferences already in current law, rules and regulations of state agencies, authorities and local governments. However, they vary greatly and are applied ineffectively and inconsistently.
Such a preference already exists when state agencies fund projects through federal grants. In addition, the bill adheres to international trade agreements.
The Buy American Act will protect and grow direct jobs in America, as well as indirect jobs by pumping our public dollars back into our own economy. New York stands to benefit, in particular, because of its strong existing manufacturing base. We have the ability, we just need the work. Further, and just as importantly, this legislation will ensure quality American craftsmanship in the infrastructure our families utilize each and every day to get to school and work.
Mario Cilento, President[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Call To Action”]LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, June 2, 2014, 1:00 P.M.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, N.Y.
[/td_text_with_title][td_text_with_title custom_title=”Issue of the Week”]SUPPORT AMERICAN MANUFACTURING JOBS
S. 7206 DeFrancisco/A. 9521 Morelle
This bill enacts the New York State Buy American Act, to allow for a 25% increase in the total project cost for a bidder if such cost increase is the result of using steel, iron and component parts that are manufactured in the United States. These provisions comply with federal standards that are already in place and they comply with all international trade agreements.
Many foreign manufacturing companies are government subsidized and/or do not adhere to any labor or environmental standards required of American and New York manufacturers. This tilted playing field puts American business and workers at an extreme competitive disadvantage and over the years has contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York and across the nation. Worse, this contributes to the abuse of workers in other nations and contributes to global environmental problems.
The need to create a fair and level playing field has never been more evident and this bill will be a significant first step in doing that. More important, this will be an important tool to help New York manufacturers create jobs.[/td_text_with_title]