Our union is continually advocating for policies to create or retain jobs, especially in these difficult economic times. Here are updates on two USW priorities:
Supporting the American Jobs Act – The President launched a bold initiative to boost job creation in early September. The American Jobs Act would provide the action needed to begin to restore our economy by rebuilding manufacturing through infrastructure investment with strong Buy American provisions. Despite the potential to create 1.5 million jobs, the inclusion of many bipartisan proposals and the desire of the American people for Congressional action on jobs, the legislation was blocked in the Senate earlier this month. View the USW’s toolkit on the American Jobs Act at www.usw.org.
Key Vote: The Senate vote on the American Jobs Act was 50-49, but 60 votes were needed to advance the bill. Two Democrats (Nelson, NE and Tester, MT) joined all Republicans in opposition while Coburn (R-OK) did not vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also voted against in a tactical move that would allow him to call the bill back in the future under Senate rules.
Current Status: The Senate is voting on individual pieces of the American Jobs Act now. A bill to prevent layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders was recently voted down. We anticipate a Senate vote on the infrastructure portions of the Act next. The House has refused to act.
Saving Jobs by Curbing China’s Currency Manipulating – Earlier this month, the Senate advanced a key Steelworker priority, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2011 (S. 1619), by a vote of 63-35. This bill would curb nations like China from manipulating their currency. When this happens, their products are given an edge over ours, resulting in millions of U.S. job losses.
Key Vote: All Democrats and Independents supported the bill except for Cantwell (WA), Inouye (HI), McCaskill (MO), Murray (WA) and Lieberman (I-CT). All Republicans voted against the bill except for Brown (MA), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Cochran (MS), Collins (ME), Crapo (ID), Graham (SC), Grassley (IA), Hoeven (ND), Isakson (GA), Johanns (NE), Portman (OH), Risch (ID), Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL) and Snowe (ME). Coburn (R-OK) and Shaheen (D-NH) did not vote.
Current Status: The bill now needs action in the U.S. House. A majority of Representatives support the legislation, but the Republican leadership has not yet agreed to take up the bill.
Check out USW members acting out the tug of war for the American Dream – including our jobs, public services and more – in this flash mob video clip: http://youtu.be/-iaqvPO1DTE