COPY-UPDATE: WEDC outsourcing plan may not catch all cases
MADISON (WKOW) -- A key committee within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) approved a proposal on how the agency can stop awarding companies that outsource jobs Monday afternoon. It will now go to the full WEDC board for a vote next week.
"This is a critical issue for the State off Wisconsin and our taxpayers," said Reed Hall, WEDC CEO. "We are committed to making sure that WEDC funds are not used for outsourcing jobs outside the United States."
The WEDC Awards Administration Committee (AAC) approved a proposal that includes three changes to the current award process. It would have all contracts for job-creation or retention awards state that companies cannot use the money to relocate jobs. Companies that have received job-creation or retention awards will also have to certify on their annual performance reports to WEDC whether they have relocated jobs out of state within the past year.
The final piece of the proposal suggests WEDC track state job losses and layoffs through information companies already submit to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act. DWD releases WARN information on a weekly basis.
"In our cross-check, if a business appears on that list and they receive any financial assistance from WEDC, we'll then take that through an evaluation process," said Jake Kuester, Vice-President of Credit and Risk for WEDC.
But companies are not required to submit WARN notices for every layoff or job cut in Wisconsin. DWD provides employers a list of several exceptions to the requirement.
That could lead to some gaps in the current WEDC proposal. Plexus Corp. of Neenah was one of two companies that a 27 News investigation found had outsourced jobs after receiving job-creation tax credits from WEDC. But when Plexus laid off 116 Wisconsin workers in July of 2012 and sent their jobs overseas, they were not required to file a WARN notice.
27 News relayed that fact to WEDC officials after the AAC approved the proposal.
"This is something that we need to follow-up on, and I'll try to get some follow-up before our board meeting next week," said Hall.
The WEDC Board of Directors will vote on the proposal September 25th. During Monday's meeting, AAC Chair Paul Radspinner told members that fellow board member Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) is still pushing for more stringent requirements in the proposal.
WEDC Chief Operations Officer Ryan Murray said Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin), who chairs the WEDC Board, agrees with Rep. Barca. That could lead to the outsourcing proposal being changed at the full board meeting. ********
MADISON (WKOW) -- A key committee within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will meet Monday afternoon to finalize the language on a proposal to prevent companies that accept awards from outsourcing jobs.
Assembly Minority Leader and WEDC board member Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) made the proposal after a 27 News investigation found some companies had outsourced jobs to other countries after accepting tax credits from WEDC.
Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) voiced his support for the proposal at at meeting of the WEDC board on July 28th.
The version of the proposal finalized today will go to the full WEDC board for a vote on September 25th.
Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will have a full report on today's meeting on 27 News at 5 and 6.
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