Standing up for our workers

Our country was built by workers – by hardworking men and women who proudly did their jobs and earned a good living for it. For a long time, a growing economy meant more American workers earning enough to support a family, send their kids to school, and retire at the end of a long career.

It was a good deal: Put in an honest day’s work, and get a fair reward for it. But over the last few decades, something has changed. Too many companies aren’t honoring that deal anymore.

They’ve become more focused on rewarding their shareholders than their workers. They care more about their quarterly earnings than the long-term health of a community. As a result, in towns and cities all over New York State and all around the country, factories and companies have shut their doors without enough concern for what happens to their workers – or the places they live – after they close.

Even many workers who still have jobs are struggling to make ends meet, because wages are too low, and the safety net is too weak. This has to change, because as it stands now, the system is failing our workers. No New Yorker working a full-time job – and doing it well, no less – should be struggling just to get by and provide for their family.

We need more good-paying jobs back in New York State. But to get there, companies need to start rewarding work again – and lawmakers need to do their part to help create an environment that works for all of us.

Here are some of Senator Gillibrand's top legislative priorities to help make that happen:

Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act—investing in New York’s high-tech manufacturing workers

New York State has one of the best and most famous manufacturing traditions in the world. In our state, workers make everything from high quality metal gears to high quality microchips.

But despite their good work, our manufacturing workers have been hit hard over the last few decades.

Between 2000 and 2016, nearly one out of every three American manufacturing jobs were lost – even though the profits of many manufacturing companies have been getting higher and higher.

Many areas in our state want to breathe new life into their local manufacturing sectors, but they don’t have the resources they need to do it.

The Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act would help bring good-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs back to New York State by designating certain regions as our new, national manufacturing hubs – our new leaders in American manufacturing.

These “Manufacturing Communities” would go to the front of the line for federal funding to train high-tech manufacturing workers and support entrepreneurs who want to launch new high-tech manufacturing businesses that create even more good-paying jobs.

The “Manufacturing Communities” designation was started as a temporary initiative by the Obama Administration, and the bipartisan Made In America Manufacturing Communities Act would make this successful program permanent.

End Outsourcing Act—rewarding companies that support American workers

Too many companies have packed up and left New York State without any consequences for themselves, but with enormous consequences for the communities they left behind.

When these good-paying jobs leave, it’s a deliberate choice by companies that are more concerned about their shareholders than they are about their workers.

Congress has a responsibility to pass laws that would protect good-paying jobs here at home.

That means stopping companies from leaving New York State for cheap labor overseas, and it means doing everything we can to bring back the companies that left.

The End Outsourcing Act would help solve the outsourcing problem and bring back good-paying jobs.

It would require the federal government to consider, when awarding its annual $400 million in federal contracts, whether a company has outsourced jobs.

It would stop the federal government from giving tax rewards to companies that have shipped jobs overseas.

And it would give new tax incentives to companies that bring foreign jobs back to the United States, because these are the companies we should be rewarding – not the companies that have turned their backs on New York State and our country.

Computer Science Career Education Act—preparing students for the good-paying jobs of the future

A few decades ago, not many people could have imagined that one of New York State’s biggest industries in the 21st century would be in the field of nanotechnology.

What jobs will the next generation of New Yorkers have? Odds are, many of them will be related to computing.

By the year 2022, it’s estimated that there will be 1.3 million job openings in computing occupations. But if those job openings came now, we wouldn’t be able to fill them.

Fewer than 50,000 students graduate with bachelor’s degrees in computer science each year, and most states don’t offer any computer science courses as part of their core math and science curriculum.

The Computer Science Career Education Act would offer high schools and colleges new funds to develop computer science career education programs, so that more students will graduate with the skills they need to take on good-paying computing jobs.

The bipartisan bill would also train more computer science teachers and professors. This legislation is bipartisan.