Portland, Ore. — An Oregon fair trade advocacy coalition has released a new analysis of U.S. Labor Department data showing that Oregon lost the fourth most jobs to offshoring out of any state in the country in 2012 when measured by population.
“The data clearly shows that, year after year, trade agreements have been bleeding Oregon communities of much-needed jobs. 106 mill workers in St. Helens were just laid off from Boise White Paper” said Greg Pallesen, Vice President of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers. “Rather than stopping the outgoing flow of jobs, this new Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to open up an artery.”
The newly compiled data released today by the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign shows that the Labor Department certified 1,911 Oregon jobs as destroyed by either direct offshoring or displacement by imports in 2012, which is a 34% increase over 2011 and brings the total number of trade-displaced jobs certified by the Labor Department in the state since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994 up to 55,085.
The following charts show where Oregon stands in relation to other states:
States with the Most Trade-Related Job Losses Per Capita
as Certified by the U.S. Department of Labor (2012)
State – Jobs Lost
1. Arkansas – 3,769
2. Massachusetts – 3,903
3. Louisiana – 2,686
4. Oregon – 1,911
5. Ohio – 5,662
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Trade Act Program Database
The U.S. Labor Department individually certifies workplace layoffs as being trade-related in order to qualify displaced workers for the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The coalition argues that this data set necessarily undercounts the true number of Oregon jobs that have been offshored, first, because it requires someone to proactively apply for certification and, second, because people in service sector jobs that have been offshored, such as those in call centers or computer programming, have typically been disqualified by law from inclusion in the program.
Oregon workplaces certified as having trade-related layoffs in 2012 included ATI (Albany), Aosom (Lake Oswego), Agro Group (Portland), Boise (St Helens), CenturyLink (Medford), Cognizant Technology Solutions (Beaverton), Consolidated Pine (Prineville), Cooper Bussman/Sure Power Industries (Tualatin), FT Material Solutions (Fairview), Fashion Tech (Portland), Hewlett-Packard (Corvallis), IdaTech (Bend), Jeld-Wen (Bend), Kelly Services (Albany), Lattice Semiconductor (Hillsboro), Lumber Products (Tualatin), Maxim Integrated Products (Hillsboro), Peak Sun Silicon
(Albany), SIC Processing USA (Portland), Siltronic (Portland), Simple Way (McMinnville), Solaicx (Portland), T-Mobile (Redmond), TE Connectivity (Wilsonville) and Yahoo (Hillsboro).
“Far too many of Oregon’s families have already suffered through having their livelihoods shipped overseas as a result of bad trade policies like NAFTA,” said Elizabeth Swager, director of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign. “if trade talks move forward on the Trans-Pacific Partnership it would offshore even more Oregon jobs by forcing local employers to compete with goods made under sweatshop working conditions in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia, where workers are paid even less than those in China. That’s a losing situation for working people in any country.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is currently under negotiation between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Among those countries alone, it would become the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history, but it is also being specifically negotiated as a “docking agreement” that would be open for any country in the Asia-Pacific region to join.
“Despite having completed fifteen major rounds of TPP negotiations over a period of several years, U.S. negotiators refuse to tell the American public what they’ve been proposing in our names, while granting hundreds of corporate lobbyists access to the negotiating texts,” said Swager. “This sort of back-room deal-making will not turn out well for working Oregonians, and must be opposed. Every member of Oregon’s Congressional delegation, except Greg Walden, has spoken out against the lack of transparency.”