Monday January 17, 2022
Oct-29-2008 11:27TweetFollow @OregonNews
Trade Pacts Cost Oregon Over 74,000 JobsSalem-News.com
New Report Documents the Impact of Offshoring and Foreign Competition in Communities throughout the State; Estimates 74,500 Jobs Lost.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - A new report about the statewide impacts of international trade policies released today by the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (ORFTC) finds that an estimated 74,500 Oregonians have lost jobs as a result of direct offshoring by their employers or displacement due to imports.
The report provides first-hand accounts of the negative effects that trade-related job loss has had on families and communities throughout the state, quoting from among over 150 interviews ORFTC conducted with displaced workers across Oregon.
“Trade-related job loss is a widespread, on-going problem that is hurting people in all corners of the state,” said ORFTC Director Arthur Stamoulis. “Those employed in manufacturing, agriculture and forest products have obviously been hit very hard by this trend, but increasingly, white-collar, salaried positions are also being shipped overseas. It’s part of the reason why the number of jobs lost from year-to-year has not tapered off over time.”
The report Livelihoods Traded Away draws on interviews with displaced workers from Colton, Dallas, Hermiston, Lake Oswego, Medford, Merlin, Monmouth, Myrtle Creek, Ontario, Portland, Roseburg, White City, Woodburn and other cities and towns throughout the state. Former elected officials from Salem, including Anna Braun and Mike Swaim, were also interviewed. Trends highlighted in many interviews include:
* The difficulty of competing directly for jobs against workers abroad who are paid just pennies on the dollar;
* The loss of economic security that comes with trade-related job loss, which has forced many to either move to find work and/or make difficult decisions regarding home payments, health care, education and retirement;
* The inadequacy of many job retraining programs, particularly in communities where there are few job opportunities available;
* The norm that one must accept less in pay and benefits in order to find new work;
* The increasing number of white-collar, service-sector jobs in Oregon that are being shipped to lower-paid workforces overseas; and
* That many immigrants living and working in Oregon came here only after experiencing the negative impacts of free trade policies in their home countries.
The U.S. Department of Labor tracks trade-related plant closures and certifies certain categories of workers as eligible for its Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Examining TAA records, ORFTC found approximately 35,000 Oregon jobs certified as lost due to trade.
Many additional Oregonians have lost their jobs due to offshoring and foreign competition, but fall into categories of work not typically covered by the TAA program; this often includes truck drivers, service technicians, suppliers, consultants, small business owners, growers, ranchers, fishermen and others. The Department of Labor does not certify these additional trade-related job losses. ORFTC estimates that 74,500 Oregon jobs have been lost due to outsourcing and foreign competition since NAFTA took effect in 1994.
“Today’s trade policies enable jobs to be shipped around the world to wherever labor is the most exploited and environmental regulations are the weakest. That is a losing proposition for most Americans,” said Stamoulis. “It’s time for our elected to acknowledge that the economic theories that have governed our economy in recent decades have not worked well for ordinary Oregonians. We need a real change in the way this nation conducts international trade.”
The report recommends that policymakers:
Stop using existing trade pacts as a template for future trade agreements;
Start studying and addressing the problems in existing pacts; and
Improve opportunities for public participation and oversight in the policymaking process.
To download a copy of the report, and profiles of interviewees quoted within it, please visit: citizenstrade.org/pdf2/Livelihoods.pdf
Articles for October 28, 2008 | Articles for October 29, 2008 | Articles for October 30, 2008