CEOs who outsource Missouri jobs back Bush

Wednesday, September 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:39 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 16, 2008

President Bush’s campaign is heavily supported by Missouri CEOs who have sent more than 15,000 of the state’s nonfarm jobs abroad since January 2001, according to a report by the Missouri Citizen Education Fund.

The report, released at a news conference at the Boone County Fairgrounds before Bush’s rally Tuesday, said CEOs outsourcing Missouri jobs support Bush over Democrat John Kerry 13-to-one.

“There is a clear connection between CEOs that are sending Missouri jobs overseas and the Bush administration’s view that outsourcing is a natural development and positive economic policy,” said Rachel Wright, an organizer from MCEF, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that tracks campaign contributions. “I believe that the 15,000 Missourians who have lost their jobs to other countries would disagree that outsourcing is positive for Missouri’s economy.”

The group’s report cites public records from the U.S Departments of Commerce and Labor and campaign finance disclosures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. It found that Missouri’s electrical equipment and apparel manufacturers have been most affected by outsourcing, sending 1,933 and 3,354 jobs abroad, respectively.

In Columbia, electrical equipment makers Square D and 3M have outsourced a combined 91 jobs, the report said. Five 3M directors and the company’s CEO, W. James McNerney Jr., have each given the maximum $2,000 contribution allowed under federal election laws to the Bush campaign. The 3M Political Action Committee has given Bush an additional $4,000.

“If you don’t see yourself identifying with the average corporate CEO, you might ask yourself what it is about Bush that they’re supporting, and if you agree with those policies,” Wright said.

In speeches around the state Monday and Tuesday, Bush said the key to keeping jobs here is to open up markets for U.S. products and to ensure a level playing field with other countries.

Richard Jorgensen, bargaining chairman for United Auto Workers Local 2379 in Jefferson City, doesn’t think Bush’s strategies are effective. He’s negotiating with chemical manufacturer ABB/Westinghouse, which he says is threatening to send some of its Jefferson City jobs overseas.

Jorgensen says Kerry policies would put less pressure on workers to take pay cuts to compete with cheaper wages in other countries.

“I feel that Kerry is more for the working man, where Bush is more for the CEO,” Jorgensen said. “I don’t know how quickly Kerry could stop this outsourcing trend, but I believe that he has the means to slow this trend and that he hopes to turn it around.”

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