County Commmisioner Criticizes Bush Economic Policy in relation to outsourcing of Bay Area Jobs - Mitch Perry


Last week, the Credit Card Company Capital One announced last week that it was shutting down its call center in Tampa, eliminating 1,100 jobs and delivering a serious blow to efforts to upgrade the Bay Area's economic base.

Employees were informed that their jobs would be sent overseas, but the company has not said where they will be outsourced to.

Outsourcing has become an issue in this year's Presidential Election, and today

Hillsborough County Commissioner Kathy Castor - who represents the Town N County section of the County where Capitol One's campus is based, used the plight of the lost jobs to denounce President Bush, and concurrently praise Democratic candidate John Kerry. (roll tape#1 o.q."taken overseas")

Back in February, President Bush's Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, Greg Mankiw, told The Los Angeles Times that, "Outsourcing [jobs] is just a new way of doing international trade. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that's a good thing."

Senator Kerry has also made political hey with the issue, denouncing such corporations as "Benedict Arnold " companies.

Commissioner Kathy Castor - whose mother Betty is running for the Democratic. nomination for U.S. Senator - used the devastating job loss as a tool to bash President Bush.(roll tape#2 o.q."this economic plan")

Although recent economic indicators have been improving, there has still been a net loss of Jobs under President Bush since he took office 3 ½ years ago...Floyd Suggs is the President of the Central Labor Council recounted some of those statistics (roll tape#3 o.q."talk jobs")

Adding insult to injury, Capital One has been the recipient of nearly 4 million dollars in tax breaks since it arrived in the area in 9 years ago. After coming to Tampa in 1995, Capital One was among the first group of companies to seek tax breaks under the state's then new Qualified Target Industry Program. The program was created by the Florida Legislature to lure companies with high paying jobs through tax incentives.

After the news of Capital One's mass firings last week, County Commissioner Jan Platt said giving tax incentives don't work.

But County Commissioner Kathy Castor wasn't willing to say that at all - instead remaining on message that the Federal Policy is encourging jobs to go overseas (roll tape#4 o.q. "that's a double whammy")

29 year old Billy Sakora is an account supervisor who has been at Capital One for 5 years. He says he doesn't worry so much about his own economic future as far as some of his co-workers (roll tape#5 o.q."college")

It was reported last week that the layoff package for the 1,100 workers includes one week's pay for every $10,000 in annual salary and extra pay for older workers, with a cap on total severance at 12 weeks. Capital One Account Supervisor Billy Sakora said the fear of losing that severance was one reason why he was the only current employee willing to speak at the news conference (roll tape#6 o.q."severance package")

And Sekora said it's hard to swallow losing his job because of economic policies that allow companies like Capitol One to pack up and move overseas (roll tape#7 o.q. "

Roll tape#7o.q."dedicated employees")

Earlier this week, Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union, with 1.6 million members, caused a stir by telling the Washington Post that John Kerry's election might be bad for labor unions because he is not strong enough on labor laws. He added efforts to revamp unions might "lose momentum" if Kerry wins.

WMNF asked Union Leader Floyd Suggs how strong did he think John Kerry would be for the working men and women in America? (roll tape#8 o.q."

Jobs at Capital One are scheduled to cut in phases, with some employees leaving in the next couple of months, and others staying until next Spring.

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