Why the Economy Doesn’t Work for the 99%: Massive Payouts to Corporate Stockholders

We Are the 99 Percent photo by Gawain Jones via Flikr Creative Commons license

Photo by Gawain Jones via Flikr Creative Commons License

Wondering what happened to America’s Middle Class? UMass Lowell professor William Lazonick has some numbers for you.

  • Since 2004, top US corporations have paid 86% of their net income to stockholders through dividends and stock buybacks.

Why that’s important: Money paid out to stockholders is not available for long-term growth investments such as R&D, opening new facilities, updating equipment or hiring new employees. It’s also not being used to give raises to current employees. But I’m digressing. Back to Professor Lazonick:

  • And 86% is just the average return to stockholders. Professor Lazonick names 15 corporations that spent more than their net income on dividends and stock buybacks, including: Time Warner (280%); DirecTV (192%); Hewlett-Packard (168%); Pfizer (137%) and Home Depot (134%).

Wonder how corporations can pay more out to stockholders than they receive in net income? Here’s one possible answer: they can borrow the money. From May 20, 2014 Time Warner Inc. Prices $2.0 Billion Debt Offering: “The net proceeds from the issuance of the notes and debentures will be used for general corporate purposes, including share repurchases.” (Remind you of…say, What Mitt Romney Taught Us About America’s Economy?)

But I’m digressing again. Back to Professor Lazonick, again:

  • The top corporations kept paying dividends through the recent recession, with a barely-noticeable drop between 2008 and 2010. “[T]hrough boom and bust, dividends were stable, and on the rise from 2010. In 2004 mean dividends were $349 million; in 2013 double that amount at $685 million.”

Repeating that: an average of $685 million in dividends per company. Paid out to stockholders, not reinvested in the business. Just in 2013.

Wondering what effect that has on America’s economy? Here’s one example, using a company that paid out much less than $685 million in dividends:

http://2bgr8stock.deviantart.com/art/Money-Cash6-117258936 By 2bgr8STOCKLast year, we estimated what FedEx CEO Fred Smith received – personally – in dividend income: “According to SEC filings, he owns about 15 million shares of the company.  Last year, FedEx paid out a total of 55 cents per share in dividends.  Do the math… and it looks like Mr. Smith received about $8.5 million in dividends (not counting dividends to his family holding company, his wife, or his retirement fund).” Also last year, we estimated what that meant in the larger scheme of things: “his 15 million shares in the company represent only a fraction of the outstanding stock. For Mr. Smith to receive $8.5 million in dividends, personally, the company has to pay out well over $100 million in total dividends – money that could have been invested in new hires, or new planes, or new facilities (or improved employee benefits).”

Now, compare that $8.5 million that we calculated he received as dividends with his $13.7 million “compensation package” that was reported about the same time.

Hey, maybe we did the math wrong. Maybe Mr. Smith didn’t actually get two-thirds again as much in dividends as he got in official “compensation.” It’s really, really hard to track dividend payments to corporate CEOs – that information is not reported anywhere that we have been able to find.

But doesn’t it seem possible that Mr. Smith’s decisions about how FedEx treats its workers… could perhaps be influenced by the fact that he gets a substantial share of the dividends paid out to stockholders? Read FedEx And The Real Reason Why There’s No Jobs: Cut Back On Worker Hours And Raise Profits. Also remember that a federal appeals court just ruled that FedEx improperly classified 2,300 California drivers as “independent contractors” rather than “employees”… to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

BTW, it’s not just difficult to track dividend payments to CEOs… it’s also hard to track the effect of stock repurchasing programs on CEOs.

Going back to Mr. Smith… Late last year, FedEx announced plans to buy back up to 32 million shares – or, about 10% of outstanding stock. Since then, the market price of its stock has risen by about $35 a share. Multiply $35 per share by the roughly 15 million shares Mr. Smith owns… and you’re talking some serious numbers.

Not to repeat myself (again), but: that type of information isn’t tracked anywhere. At least, not anywhere we could find.

Going back to Professor Lazonick:

  • The corporations in his survey spent 51% of net income on stock buybacks.

Yep, must be lookin’ real rosy up there in the corporate offices. Extrapolating from our FedEx example, can you imagine how much all those different stock buybacks have enriched America’s CEOs?

EGTRRA signingAnd as near as I can tell, it’s going to keep lookin’ rosy in corporate offices as long as our federal tax system encourages this sort of thing. Ever since the Bush tax cuts, investment income has been taxed at a much lower rate than wage income. Are we really surprised that CEOs are taking more compensation in stock options and awards, rather than traditional wages?

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Meanwhile, yesterday’s New York Times hosted a “Room for Debate” on the policy implications of Professor Lazonick’s research.

Want to know how deeply ingrained the “No New Taxes” ceiling has become, in our public discourse?

Not a single policy expert quoted in that “debate” even suggested that America should return to taxing investment income at the same rate as wages.

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#dejavu

My “Why the Economy Doesn’t Work for the 99%” post from last year is available here.

Will Senator Sanders Run? After This Speech, I Hope So!

Bernie Sanders

There is a war out there and whether you know it or not, you are a part of it.  This is a war between a few ultra-wealthy families and the rest of us living here in America.

These ultra-wealthy 1%’ers have been buying elections and forcing policy changes that weaken our labor laws, weaken environmental protections, and most importantly take money from hard working Americans and put it into the pockets of Wall Street hedge fund managers.

What is a middle class worker supposed to do?

Every year we sit and watch, as our paychecks appear to shrink and our grocery bills get higher and higher.  Corporate run healthcare is costing us more and more, and yet our employers refuse to increase wages.  Effectively Corporate is slowly eating away at our take home pay.

We need someone who will fight back against Corporate America, the Koch brothers, and the Walton family greed.  We need someone who will fight to rebuild the middle class, and reach down to help those who are not there yet.

Who could that person be? Hillary Clinton? Maybe, well have to see. Elizabeth Warren? Love her, but we need her in the Senate right now.

Have no fear, Bernie Sanders is here!  

The truth is that nobody knows if Bernie Sanders is officially going to run for President or not, and trust me I tried to ask him at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.  Even though I did not get a straight answer, after watching Senator Sanders speak there is no doubt in my mind he is running. And that makes me very happy!

As an avid political commentator, and devoted follower of politics, sadly I do not think Bernie will win the Democratic Party nomination.  That being said it is vitally important that Senator Sanders puts his name in the race, because he is going to ask the questions that absolutely nobody on the right will dare answer, and he is going to change the entire debate on the left, which may make Hillary a little uncomfortable.

The fact that Senator Sanders is even considering to run has many 1%’ers running scared. The more Bernie talks about running, the more speeches like this one, get pushed into the mainstream media.  The 1% does not want you to know that they are secretly creating policies that suppress your wages, and boost their profits.  The 1% does not want you to know that they have been working to break our unions, and repeal the minimum wage. The 1% does not want you to know that they are secretly changing our environmental laws to make it easier to pollute our planet.

“The problems we face today are probable more serious than at any time since the Great Depression” warned Sanders.  “From the bottom my heart, I believe these problems are solvable, but they will not be solved unless working people come together and have the courage to take on the greed and the selfishness that we are seeing all over this country.”

At one point Senator Sanders talked about how our entire tax structure is unbalanced and that we have to do something about the vast income inequality currently dividing our country.  This is effecting our communities as local budgets are getting tighter and tighter. Lack of revenue and budget cuts have forced teachers to be laid off.  Laying off teachers is the worst thing we can do if we are trying to build strong community.  Teachers are forced out while Wall Street hedge fund managers collect obscene amounts of money.

“24 of the most lucrative hedge fund managers made more money than 425,000 public school teachers. That makes sense to nobody I know,” Sanders said.

Senator Sander also talked about David Koch’s Libertarian agenda when he ran for Vice President in 1980.  All of the things that were too extreme for main stream Republicans in 1980 like, repealing the minimum wage, the repeal of Social Security, repealing campaign finance laws, the abolition of the USPS and the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid, are now the basis of the modern day TEA Party led Republican Party.

All of these policy changes favor those ultra-wealthy 1%’ers and basically screw the rest of us.  That is not what our founding fathers wanted when they created our democracy.

Senator Sanders said, “We live in a Democracy not an Oligarchy!”

I say RUN, Bernie, RUN!!!

 

Watch Senator Sanders entire speech at the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast below. 

 

Scott Brown Takes Big Money From A Company That Outsources American Jobs, Locals Discuss

New Hampshire Leaders Discuss Scott Brown’s Role On Board Of Outsourcing Company and Record Of Supporting Breaks For Companies That Offshore U.S. Jobs

Brown Is Cashing In Again, Collecting Quarter Of A Million Dollars On Board Of Outsourcing Company At The Expense Of NH Economy

Manchester – Today, following reports that Scott Brown is lining his own pockets with more than a quarter of a million dollars from a company that outsourced American jobs, New Hampshire economic leaders and elected officials spoke on a conference call about why Brown’s role on the company’s board of directors makes him wrong for New Hampshire. Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier, former DRED Commissioner George Bald, and Nashua State Senator Bette Lasky discussed the negative impact outsourcing has had on local economies in New Hampshire as well as Scott Brown’s record of voting to protect tax breaks for companies that offshore jobs when he was Massachusetts’ U.S. Senator.

“I was really disappointed to find out that Kadant’s focus really is not on creating jobs in New Hampshire or in this country, and that outsourcing is a major part of its business plan,” said former Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald. “I know what Senator Shaheen has accomplished and when you look at that accomplishment it’s pretty significant in terms of creating good jobs. And as far as what Mr. Brown has done for the state of New Hampshire, it is a blank sheet of paper.”

“It’s not only that Scott Brown is profiting from this outsourcing company, but in his first year in Massachusetts as Senator, he voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas,” said Nashua State Senator Bette Lasky. “In New Hampshire we value leaders who invest in our state’s economy and believe in our workforce. Scott Brown is wrong for New Hampshire and the people of New Hampshire deserve better.”

“There’s the politics of watching outsourcing and then the living of outsourcing,” said Paul Grenier, Mayor of Berlin. “Over the course of one generation Berlin has lost over 3800 manufacturing jobs. That’s the end result of some of the policies Scott Brown supported and I could never support him. I’ve worked closely with Senator Shaheen on a number of issues and I could tell you that protecting and creating jobs in the North Country has been of paramount importance to her.”

On Sunday, the Nashua Telegraph reported that Scott Brown has collected more than a quarter of a million dollars as a member of the board of directors of Kadant, Inc., a company based in Westford Massachusetts that touts its outsourcing of American jobs to China and Mexico. Brown’s involvement with the company fits his record from when he was a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.

This isn’t the first time Scott Brown has been caught cashing in on his Senate candidacy and selling his reputation as a former Senator. This past spring, Brown was caught collecting $20,000 at a Las Vegas hedge fund conference.  Separately, Brown was forced to resign from a beauty supply company turned weapons manufacturer that was paying him $1.3 million in stock options as an advisor, and whose executives had been sued for fraud.

As New Hampshire’s Governor and U.S. Senator, Jeanne Shaheen has worked to spur investment in New Hampshire’s economy and create new jobs.  Her support for Trade Adjustment Assistance grants supported the development of advanced manufacturing training programs that helped workers who had lost their jobs because of foreign competition.  Those job retraining programs have been cited by New Hampshire businesses as a reason they chose to locate, and create jobs, in the Granite State.

AFT Hails Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Law

WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on President Obama’s signing of the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act:

“Career and technical education programs provide incredibly important pathways to success. The bipartisan bill that President Obama signed today extends the ladder of opportunity to middle-class Americans by providing the guidance, skills and training needed to compete for good 21st-century jobs. The law will help young people, the disabled, the long-term unemployed and those barely getting by on hourly wages to become economically self-sufficient.

“The workforce law provides a blueprint for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, which has been a lifeline for job training opportunities and focuses on career and technical education programs and collaborative partnerships among employers, communities, schools and labor. We hope that as Congress works on the Perkins reauthorization, it provides much-needed funding for guidance counselors, who can help students explore career options as they contemplate their futures.

“I have witnessed how great career and technical education high schools change lives, such as New York City’s Aviation High School; New York City’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech, which has IBM and the City College of New York as core partners; and the Toledo (Ohio) Technology Academy, whose partners include the United Auto Workers union. The Albert Shanker Institute and the AFT have been stalwart advocates of career and technical education programs, and we will continue our efforts to help high-quality CTE programs flourish to create innovative pathways to a high school diploma and college and career readiness.”

Senator Shaheen Cites Dire Need For Transportation Funding To Spur Economic Growth

At Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials 2014 Conference, Shaheen highlights importance of transportation program funding to New Hampshire

(Portsmouth, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this morning addressed the 2014 Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO) conference where she highlighted the dire need to maintain funding for the Highway Trust Fund so that critical transportation infrastructure projects are not delayed in New Hampshire. Shaheen was joined by Chris Clement Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and President of NASTO as well as other Northeast transportation officials including Ted Zoli, National Bridge Chief Engineer with HNTB Corporation, who was responsible for designing the new Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth.

“Improving our transportation infrastructure is critical to continued economic growth and job creation here in New Hampshire,” Shaheen said. “We must maintain funding for the Highway Trust Fund so that we don’t see delays to important projects such as the widening of I-93 and other investments in New Hampshire’s infrastructure. I’ll continue to work to make sure that our state has the federal resources necessary to maintain the transportation infrastructure needed to compete in the 21st century.”

Shaheen has been vocal about the need to maintain New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure for both public safety and economic competitiveness. She worked with the New Hampshire and Maine congressional delegations to obtain funding for the replacement of the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth and has repeatedly called for the replacement of the Sewalls Falls Bridge in Concord. She has also fought against cuts to the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Return (TIGER) program which encourages economic activity and jobs in New Hampshire through important infrastructure investments. Earlier this year, she introduced the Strengthen and Fortify Existing Bridges Act of 2014 (SAFE Bridges Act) which would establish a program to provide funding specifically dedicated to repair and replace aging and deteriorating bridges.

In National Defense Authorization Act, Shea-Porter Authors Multiple Provisions to Protect Troops and Grow NH’s Economy

NDAA would protect Portsmouth Naval Shipyard by
prohibiting Base Realignment And Closure

WASHINGTON, DC –As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter authored a number of provisions that passed the U.S. House of Representatives as part of H.R. 4435, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015. The bill includes language written by Shea-Porter to help provide for a strong national defense, save taxpayers money, and strengthen services for America’s troops. The legislation specifically bars additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), which protects the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and also includes a provision to honor the anniversary of the sinking of the U.S.S. Thresher.

“I am pleased that this bill includes many of my provisions that support both America’s national defense and New Hampshire’s economy,” Shea-Porter said.

H.R. 4435 passed 325 – 98 with bipartisan support. The legislation includes a 1.8 percent pay raise for the troops, bars increases in TRICARE costs, protects commissary benefits, and addresses the issue of sexual assault in the military. It also includes a provision barring the use of funds to “propose, plan for, or execute” additional rounds of Base Realignment and Closure, which protects the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter serves on the House Armed Services Committee and wrote multiple key provisions and amendments that passed the House and are detailed below.

PROTECTING TROOPS AND PROVIDING FOR A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE

Protecting Troops from Toxic Burn Pits: Shea-Porter continued her work to protect soldiers from toxic waste burned in open-air pits. Last year, Shea-Porter’s Save Our Soldiers’ Lungs Act was signed into law as an amendment to the FY 2014 NDAA. The amendment expanded the list of prohibited waste in open-air burn pits to include toxic material such as munitions, asbestos, tires, mercury, batteries, and aerosol cans.

This year, it was revealed that such prohibited waste was being burned in open-air burn pits from 2011-2013, a clear violation of 2009 law and US Central Command regulations.  Current law requires the burning of toxic wastes to be reported and justified to Congress whenever it occurs, but no such reports were ever filed. We would never allow our families to be exposed to toxic emissions on a daily basis, and the current reporting requirement is clearly not working.

Shea-Porter’s amendment to the FY 2015 NDAA requires combatant commanders to certify every six months that they are not violating the law by disposing of hazardous, medical, and other toxic wastes in open-air burn pits. If they cannot certify compliance, then they are required to report to Congress the justification for non-compliance. The amendment provides increased accountability to protect the health and safety of our military and other personnel during contingency operations.

Disposing of Hazmat Safely: The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has observed serious problems with incinerators at several bases in Afghanistan. Inspectors found that these incinerators, built at a total cost of $21.9 million, could not be used due to poor construction, planning and design, and a lack of coordination between contracts for constructing the incinerators and for operating and maintaining them. This was not only wasteful of taxpayer funds, but exposed troops to continuing unsafe toxic burn pit emissions. To avoid future waste of taxpayer funds, inoperable or unsafe incinerators, and the use of toxic burn pits, Shea-Porter’s language directs the DoD to report to the House Armed Services Committee on the lessons learned related to waste-disposal methods in contingency operations and to update the committee on its assessment of and future plans for waste-disposal technologies.

Protecting Troops from Toxic Smoke: Often serving in sandy and smoky environments, service members are exposed to harmful and toxic airborne matter which may carry pathogens, carcinogens, lead (from gunfire), and infectious diseases. This exposure can harm their health, and troops lack a flexible and wearable system to protect themselves from these inhaled hazards. Troops often resort to using shirts or cloth to cover their faces in dusty or smoky environments. We can’t do much to change the environment in which they operate, but we can develop and provide gear to mitigate these environmental dangers.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter believes that fabric-based solutions could provide a lower-cost, more flexible way for the Army to protect soldiers from some environmental hazards than continued reliance on cumbersome gas mask systems. Last year, Shea-Porter secured language that directed the Secretary of the Army to provide a report, not later than February 15, 2014, evaluating the potential utility of fabric-based solutions to address soldier exposure to inhalation of sand, dust, smoke, and pollutants.

This year, Shea-Porter’s language directs the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) in Natick, Massachusetts, which has technical and scientific expertise in the areas of environmental protection and protective clothing, to undertake this testing. The Secretary of the Army is directed to report to the congressional defense committees not later than December 1, 2014, on NSRDEC’s evaluation of the capabilities of known fabric-based solutions to mitigate soldier exposure to the hazardous effects of inhaling sand, dust, smoke, and pollutants.

Procuring Safe and Reliable Personal Protective Equipment:  We owe our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Special Operations Forces the best equipment at the best price. When we procure personal protective equipment like body armor, combat helmets, combat protective eyewear, or fire resistant clothing, it needs to work well or else lives are at risk. As the Department of Defense budget has decreased, due to sequester cuts and shrinking funding, the use of contracting based on cost-saving methods has increased. But placing the emphasis on cost savings over contractor past performance and technical capabilities for meeting critical and dangerous mission requirements can jeopardize the safety of our troops. Shea-Porter’s amendment requires the Department of Defense, to the maximum extent practicable, to value factors in addition to cost or price over cost or price alone, when procuring items of personal protective equipment, critical safety items, or when the requirement is complex, performance risk is high, or failure to perform has significant consequences.

Submarine Detection Research: One emerging threat to our national defense is that of “stealthy” submarines that can operate covertly in coastal areas of the United States. However, submarines create wakes that can alter the seafloor and leave traces that can be used to identify and track enemy forces. Through advancements in sonar, the United States could track and identify these stealthy submarines and protect our nation. Shea-Porter’s language encourages the Navy to evaluate advanced concepts and technologies for submarine detection.

Honoring the U.S.S Thresher: Shea-Porter’s resolution recognizes the 51st anniversary of the sinking of the U.S.S. Thresher. On April 10, 1963, the U.S.S. Thresher, which was based at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, sank roughly 200 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. All 16 officers, 96 sailors, and 17 civilians perished aboard the nuclear submarine. In response to the loss of the U.S.S. Thresher, the Navy instituted new regulations to ensure the health of submariners and the safety of submarines. Those regulations led to the establishment of the Submarine Safety and Quality Assurance program (SUBSAFE). Since the establishment of SUBSAFE, no SUBSAFE-certified submarine has been lost at sea, which is a legacy owed to the brave individuals who perished aboard the Thresher.

Shea-Porter’s resolution states that the House of Representatives “recognizes the 51st anniversary of the sinking of U.S.S. Thresher; remembers with profound sorrow the loss of U.S.S. Thresher and her gallant crew of sailors and civilians on April 10, 1963; and expresses its deepest gratitude to all submariners on ‘eternal patrol’, who are forever bound together by dedicated and honorable service to the United States of America.”

SAVING TAXPAYERS MONEY AND CREATING JOBS

Supporting Small Business: The Department of Defense has had a program to allow military departments and defense agencies to determine whether comprehensive subcontracting plans would reduce administrative burdens on prime contractors while enhancing opportunities for small business subcontractors. Shea-Porter’s provision extends the program and ensures that the program collects the data necessary to evaluate its effectiveness.

Common Sense Cost-Efficiency: In a world of limited resources, it’s just common sense that the Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for new work should be performed by the most cost-efficient workforce if cost is the sole criterion. Due to law, policy, or risk, many new requirements must be assigned to one of the three DoD workforces (civilian, military, or contractor).  Shea-Porter’s amendment, which would apply when and only when cost is the sole criterion, would require DoD to use its existing methodology to determine which workforce is the most cost-efficient for new work—rather than to rely on informal arrangements or arbitrary decisions—allowing it to reap the savings.

The Department of Defense supported this provision and noted that it would “ensure increased availability of limited fiscal resources for training, modernization, and readiness accounts.”

Preventing Waste and Fraud in Afghanistan:  Last fall, the Department of Defense reported to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that, as of September 2013, it has committed $4.2 billion and disbursed nearly $3 billion in direct assistance to the Afghan government for the sustainment of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).  SIGAR has identified a number of oversight weaknesses that increase the risk that this direct assistance is vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse. Although DoD plans to provide increased amounts of direct assistance, a comprehensive risk assessment has never been conducted by DoD to determine the Afghan government’s fraud risks and develop ways to reduce these risks.

Shea-Porter’s language requires the DoD Inspector General to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior in order to identify risks and prevent diversion of DoD direct assistance funds through fraud and corruption.

Holding the Afghan Government Accountable: According to a U.S. government audit, the Government of Afghanistan levied almost a billion dollars in taxes on US assistance to Afghanistan since 2008, even though this assistance to Afghanistan is supposed to be exempt from Afghan business taxes. These inappropriate and illegal taxes increase costs to American taxpayers.

Shea-Porter’s language to address the problem of Afghanistan improperly imposing taxes on Department of Defense aid was re-authorized and enhanced this year. First, the amendment requires a report to the congressional defense committees on the amount of taxes assessed the previous year on U.S. defense contractors, subcontractors, and grantees. Secondly, it requires that an amount equivalent to 150% of the total taxes assessed by the Afghan government on that assistance be withheld from funds appropriated for Afghanistan assistance for the succeeding fiscal year to the extent that such taxes have not been reimbursed. This penalty should encourage the Afghan government to cease levying improper taxes, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Hosts Women’s Business Leadership Roundtable in Berlin

Roundtable brought together a diverse group of female business leaders for a discussion about how to better support women in the economy

Annie KusterBERLIN, N.H. – Yesterday afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) continued her “Women’s Economic Agenda” listening tour with a roundtable discussion in Berlin about the issues facing women professionals across the Granite State.

During the discussion, Kuster met with a diverse group of female business leaders to discuss her recently released Women’s Economic Agenda. Participants shared their own personal experiences with some of the issues outlined in her Agenda, including pay equity, family leave time, and access to capital. Roundtable participants included representatives from the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN), the executive director of the North Country Council, and a number of North Country small business owners.

“During today’s discussion, I was so grateful to hear from inspiring New Hampshire women business leaders about how we can bridge the gender wage gap and address other issues I’ve outlined in my Women’s Economic Agenda,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “Discussing everything from equal pay to college affordability issues, these women underscored the need for Congress to prioritize initiatives that will help level the playing field for New Hampshire women. I sincerely thank today’s participants for sharing their inspiring stories with me, and I will continue to fight for their best interests back in Washington.”

“It was wonderful to have Congresswoman Kuster here to discuss these issues that are so important to so many women and families here in the North Country and all across New Hampshire. Issues like pay equity and access to capital are close to WREN’s heart and mission, and we look forward to working together to help North Country women and families,” said Marilinne Cooper, executive director of WREN.

Last month, Kuster released her Women’s Economic Agenda, a plan to help Congress prioritize initiatives to help level the playing field for Granite State women and their families. Kuster has worked to create equal opportunities for Granite State women since taking office; she is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would increase the effectiveness of remedies available to victims of pay discrimination on the basis of gender, and she has successfully pushed the President to issue executive orders to support fair pay for federally contracted employees.  Kuster has also hosted a series of roundtable discussions with women business leaders from New Hampshire to hear directly from them about what she can do on the federal level to help New Hampshire women succeed in the economy. These roundtables helped inform the crafting of her Women’s Economic Agenda.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Announces Effort to Protect Manufacturing Jobs at Genfoot in Littleton

Kuster highlighted her work to protect U.S. footwear manufacturing jobs during a tour of the Littleton company

Congresswoman Kuster hears from Genfoot employee

Congresswoman Kuster hears from Genfoot employee

LITTLETON, N.H. – This afternoon, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) toured and met with workers at Genfoot, a small footwear manufacturing business in Littleton.  During the tour, Kuster announced her recent action to protect jobs at Genfoot and other U.S. footwear manufacturing companies.

Genfoot is one of only a handful of footwear companies left that manufactures rubber and plastic footwear in the United States. Genfoot employs approximately 100 workers in Littleton, but recently these jobs have been threatened by legislation that would provide an unfair advantage to foreign companies whose products compete with American-made goods like those made at Genfoot. Kuster filed a formal objection to this legislation on behalf of Genfoot and its employees.

“Genfoot is an American success story – a small, New Hampshire business that produces goods right here at home. We must ensure Congress does not inadvertently help their foreign competition, which could threaten these great Granite State manufacturing jobs,” said Rep. Annie Kuster. “I am proud to work against any such proposals in Congress on behalf of Genfoot, and I was so pleased to get a chance to tour the factory and hear from employees firsthand about other actions Congress can take to support their success,” said Congresswoman Kuster.

“We’re very appreciative that Congresswoman Kuster took the time to tour Kamik Outdoor Footwear/Genfoot and meet with our employees today,” said Norman Cook, Executive Vice President. “We thank Congresswoman Kuster for listening to our concerns, and for working on our behalf to protect the tariffs that are so important to our workers and business here in Littleton.”

Last year, Congressional leaders introduced a “Miscellaneous Tariff Bill,” which proposes to lower tariffs on a wide range of imported goods.  While intended to benefit American companies and workers, this legislation contains a problematic provision that would lower tariffs on foreign-made footwear that competes with Genfoot’s products.  Congresswoman Kuster filed her formal objection on behalf of Genfoot and its employees earlier this year, and she is continuously working to prevent this provision’s enactment into law.

Kuster’s visit to Genfoot was part of her ongoing “Congress at Your Company” series.  Since taking office, Kuster has visited more than three dozen New Hampshire businesses to receive input on how Congress can best support their success. As a member of the House Small Business Committee, Kuster has prioritized efforts to foster job creation and support New Hampshire’s manufacturing industry. She wrote a Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Agenda, a blueprint that outlines common sense steps to help create jobs in New Hampshire and around the country. She has also supported a series of “Make It In America” proposals focused on reshoring jobs and reviving the U.S. manufacturing economy, and she has fought to establish a Manufacturing Innovation Institute in New Hampshire.

Shaheen Celebrates Grand Opening Of Safran Aerospace Composite In Rochester

Company hopes to employ more than 400 people at new facility

(Rochester, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today joined Safran Aerospace Composite officials to celebrate the grand opening of Safran’s new Rochester manufacturing facility which will create jobs and boost the local economy. Safran, the world’s oldest aircraft engineer manufacturer, builds aircraft propulsion systems, rocket engines, and other aircraft equipment; the new plant currently employs 130 people and expects to grow to between 400 and 500 employees by 2020.

“The high-tech jobs being created here in Rochester show how innovative companies like Safran can help drive economic growth and job creation,” Shaheen said. “Advanced manufacturing firms are creating high-paying jobs and helping us maintain our technological edge, but their success also depends on a highly skilled workforce. That’s why I’ve worked to promote investments in our education system so that more companies have access to a high skilled workforce right here in New Hampshire and can follow in Safran’s footsteps.”

Shaheen helped secure $20 million for the Community College System of New Hampshire through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act Community College and Career Training Program. The grant funded the creation of the statewide advanced manufacturing job training program that gives workers the skills to get jobs at high-tech companies and was critical in bringing Safran to New Hampshire.

Continuing her efforts to promote on-the-job training programs and New Hampshire’s Community Colleges, Shaheen, a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, has supported efforts to amend the Workforce Investment Act in order to establish a grant program that would help create partnerships between businesses and two-year colleges to help with job training efforts.  The bill would also authorize funds for state or local governments to train workers for companies or industries that are considering relocating their operations overseas to train workers to enable them to keep their operations local.

Senator Shaheen Says ‘Manufacturing Is Critical To New Hampshire Economy, and Jobs

Senator Shaheen At Globe Manufacturing

Senator Shaheen At Globe Manufacturing

At Globe Manufacturing Shaheen discusses New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector

(Pittsfield, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited Globe Manufacturing this morning to tour its Pittsfield facility and discuss the importance of manufacturing to New Hampshire’s economy. Globe Manufacturing has been producing equipment for firefighters since 1901 and employs 300 people in New Hampshire.

“It’s great to visit Globe Manufacturing and see the state-of-the-art equipment they produce to keep our first responders and firefighters safe on the job,” Shaheen said. “New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector employs more than 10 percent of our workforce and keeping our manufacturing sector strong is so important for the economy and jobs here and around the country. Companies like Globe Manufacturing create and sustain good-paying jobs that drive economic growth and I will continue my work to promote the nation’s manufacturing industry so we can continue to create jobs here at home.”

Shaheen has been vocal about the need to encourage growth in manufacturing throughout the country. Last year, she joined a campaign to refocus Washington on job creation and economic growth with a focus on manufacturing. Shaheen has introduced several bipartisan pieces of legislation including the On-the-Job Training Act and Small Business Export Growth Act, which would help create jobs and grow the economy. Shaheen was also a leader in the creation of the new Manchester Job Corps, which will train young people in New Hampshire for careers in the advanced manufacturing, construction, health care, homeland security, hospitality and information technology industries.