Moore, Sánchez, Pascrell, Higgins lead 180 Members of Congress in letter to the Department of Commerce
Washington, February 9, 2023
Tags: Economy and Jobs
Moore, Sánchez, Pascrell, Higgins lead 180 Members of Congress in letter to the Department of Commerce
Letter calls for labor inclusivity and accountability in semiconductor manufacturing for CHIPS and Science Act
WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Co-chair of the Congressional Labor Caucus, Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) led 180 of their colleagues in outlining steps the Department of Commerce can take to ensure recent investments in the semiconductor industry prioritize good-paying, union jobs, support domestic supply chains, and respond to current national security challenges.
Congresswoman Moore and her colleagues helped craft the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, which provides $39 billion in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to rebuild America’s semiconductor manufacturing capacities. The CHIPS Act also allows companies a 25% advanced manufacturing investment tax credit, producing $24-52 billion in investment tax breaks over the next decade.
In the comment letter, Congresswoman Moore and her colleagues push the Administration to have a “worker-centered focus” as they consider applications for program funding. The letter outlines ten recommendations to help the Biden Administration “support a new generation of high-paying, skilled union jobs to strengthen local economies.”
In addition to Congresswoman Moore, and Congressmembers Sánchez, Pascrell, and Higgins, the letter was co-signed by 180 Members of Congress, including (in alphabetical order):
Colin Allred (D-TX), Jake Auchincloss (D-MA), Becca Balint (D-VT), Nanette Barragán (D-CA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Ami Bera (D-CA), Donald Beyer (D-VA), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Nikki Budzinski (D-IL), Cori Bush (D-MO), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), André Carson (D-IN), Troy Carter (D-LA), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Greg Casar (D-TX), Sean Casten (D-IL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), Judy Chu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Angie Craig (D-MN), Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), Jason Crow (D-CO), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Donald Davis (D-NC), Madeleine Dean (D-PA), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Christopher Deluzio (D-PA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Bill Foster (D-TN), Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Robert Garcia (D-CA), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Daniel Goldman (D-NY), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Al Green (D-TX), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Josh Harder (D-CA), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), James Himes (D-CT), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Val Hoyle (D-OR), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jonathan Jackson (D-IL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), William Keating (D-MA), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Ann Kuster (D-NH), Greg Landsman (D-OH), Rick Larsen (D-WA), John Larson (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM), Mike Levin (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), James McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Grace Meng (D-NY), Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Frank Mrvan (D-IN), Kevin Mullin (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), Scott Peters (D-CA), Brittany Pettersen (D-CO), Chellie Pingree (D-ME) Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Katie Porter (D-CA), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD), Patrick Ryan (D-NY), Andrea Salinas (D-OR), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Hillary Scholten (D-MI), Kim Schrier (D-WA), David Scott (D-GA), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Adam Smith (D-WA), Eric Sorensen (D-IL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Melanie Stansbury (D-NM), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Marilyn Strickland (D-WA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Emilia Sykes (D-OH), Mark Takano (D-CA), Shri Thanedar (D-MI), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Jill Tokuda (D-HI), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Susan Wild (D-PA), Nikema Williams (D-GA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).
The letter was also endorsed by: American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Communication Workers of America (CWA), United Auto Workers (UAW), United Steel Workers (USW) International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, (IFPTE), International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), Department for Professional Employees (DPE), and Employ America Action Fund.
The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.
February 9, 2023
The Honorable Gina Raimondo
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Secretary Raimondo,
We write today to urge the U.S. Department of Commerce to ensure recent historic public investments in the semiconductor industry prioritize companies committed to creating good-paying, union domestic manufacturing jobs. As Members of Congress who stand united with workers, we applaud the Biden Administration’s work to spur the greatest expansion of domestic manufacturing in recent history. We are proud to have helped craft a central pillar of this commitment, the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act, which provides $39 billion in grants, loans, and loan guarantees to rebuild America’s semiconductor manufacturing capacities. The CHIPS Act also allows companies a 25% advanced manufacturing investment tax credit, producing $24-52 billion in investment tax breaks over the next decade.
Congress carefully designed these incentives to foster resilient domestic supply chains and bolster U.S. competitiveness while creating tens of thousands of good-paying, union construction, high skilled manufacturing, and STEM jobs. In the 1990s, the United States produced 37 percent of the world’s semiconductors. Today, only 12 percent of chips are produced domestically, following decades of offshoring and declining manufacturing. As the U.S. government invested less in its industry and workforce, others, including China, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union, outpaced U.S. investment. The large subsidies and lower labor costs companies enjoyed came at the expense of American workers and their wages. President Biden’s Executive Order on CHIPS Act implementation directs the Commerce Department to “generate well-paying, high-skilled union jobs for a broad range of stakeholders and communities.”
Given the capital required and the President’s directive, a worker-centered focus is critical to delivering on the CHIPS and Science Act’s promise of rebuilding the semiconductor industry. The regeneration of this industry must create binding and enforceable agreements based on high road labor practices and establish worker protection benchmarks to ensure the creation of good jobs and to ensure quality, skilled work without disruption. Therefore, we ask that Commerce give priority consideration to applications for the CHIPs for America program and the concurrent Notice of Funding Opportunity that:
1. Guarantee meaningful engagement with labor stakeholders by establishing workforce training and equity programming for semiconductor production through local and regional sector enterprises that utilize recognized labor-management partnerships.
2. Ensure the use of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) for each applicant for construction contracts of semiconductor fabrication plants and their inclusion of registered apprenticeship and apprenticeship readiness programs in each PLA, as appropriate.
3. Require companies to make binding, enforceable commitments to job quality and worker protection for semiconductor manufacturing facilities that establish workplace standards for production, research, and development jobs, build workforce development partnerships with unions, and meaningfully engage with union stakeholders throughout the process.
4. Require funding recipients to permit their workers to create worker-led health-and-safety committees to ensure accountability and safety in the production process.
5. Dedicate sufficient funding to upstream suppliers, including unionized facilities, when possible, in mineral processing, industrial gasses, silicon production, and legacy chips to support domestic manufacturing for automakers, aerospace, and defense, and next generation chip production.
6. Utilize non-recourse loans or flexible lending arrangements to de-risk investment for upstream commodity producers
7. Prioritize projects that reinforce the domestic manufacturing supply chain by utilizing and partnering with downstream purchasers and create high-quality, good-paying, union jobs.
8. Collect data from applicants to the CHIPs program to prioritize investments in companies that source and purchase domestically and create high-quality, good-paying, union jobs.
9. Include strong accountability language, including prohibitions on CHIPS recipients from investing in or expanding manufacturing in China and prohibitions on using CHIPS investments for stock buybacks or dividends, and call for a claw back of a percentage of grants if job creation, job quality, and worker protection metrics outlined in applications are not met.
10. Commit to provide the Department with robust and reliable data on job creation and job quality directly resulting from federal assistance, including: the total number of jobs created by job category, title, or occupation, including full time and part time new hires, wages (by job category, title, or occupation); efforts by the company to ensure hiring, retention, and pathways into good jobs for individuals underrepresented in manufacturing, design, and R&D; and any other information the Department determines necessary to assess compliance with quality job creation commitments and goals made by the applicant. The Department should share data with Congress to ensure recipients adhere to job quality standards, worker protection plans, and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funds.
By establishing robust labor conditions, the Biden Administration can be at the forefront of supporting a new generation of high-paying, skilled union jobs to strengthen local economies. According to the Department of Labor, unions improve pay, conditions, and benefits for both union and non-union workers. Nevertheless, non-unionized workers typically earn 17 percent less than workers with union representation. Additionally, young workers, many of them women and people of color, struggle to attain the training and education necessary for these high-skilled jobs. That is why pre-apprenticeship, Career and Technical Education (CTE), registered apprenticeship, nationally recognized training standards, labor-management programs, and union training programs will be critically important to building this diverse and skilled workforce.
A strong labor market in semiconductor production, research, and development is crucial for successful domestic manufacturing. By creating a robust domestic supply chain, The CHIPS Act will improve US competitiveness and our national security needs. Commerce has broad statutory authority and should use this authority to determine appropriate semiconductor fabrication and supply chain investments.
In October 2022, the Biden Administration issued a series of export controls targeting China’s capacities to build advanced semiconductors to counter China’s weapons development and surveillance capabilities. We applaud the Administration’s decision to impose these export restrictions, as a two-pronged approach is necessary to implement the CHIPS Act successfully. One of Commerce’s four CHIPS for America Fund goals is to guarantee a “sufficient, sustainable, and secure supply of older and current generation chips for national security purposes and for critical manufacturing industries.” Export controls that restrict China’s ability to purchase and manufacture high-end chips support the growth of strong job-creating American industries that reduce the United States’ reliance on imports from China.
American scientists and engineers invented the semiconductor. American workers were at the forefront of semiconductor manufacturing. Over the past two years, the US has faced critical supply bottlenecks, creating significant economic and national security concerns.
The Department of Commerce has the opportunity and responsibility to prioritize a rapid return to domestic manufacturing to prevent subsequent shortages and create good jobs, innovation, and robust domestic supply chains. Companies must also pay the industry standard with benefits. American workers deserve the right to care for their families and retire with dignity and financial security. The CHIPS and Science Act gives America a once-in-a-generation opportunity to live up to that promise.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue. We look forward to your response.
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