House passes offshoring bill inspired by Wells Fargo layoffs

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Legislation approved Friday by the House of Representatives would require public companies to annually disclose the size of their offshore workforces.

The bill, which passed 226-184, was sponsored by Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, and was inspired by the layoffs of 400 Wells Fargo employees in Iowa.

Its aim is to hold public companies accountable for moving jobs overseas by requiring them to report the number of employees who are located in each U.S. state and foreign country.

“Across the country, corporations are leaving American workers high and dry by discreetly shipping jobs overseas to benefit their bottom line,” Axne said in a press release.

"This bill will help disincentivize the practice and give employees, consumers and investors the information they need to make informed decisions about supporting companies that support American jobs.”

House Republicans have argued that the information being sought under the legislation would present an incomplete or even misleading picture about outsourcing.

“The bill is simply designed to create more opportunities for corporate activists and the trial bar to name and shame companies,” Rep. Patrick McHenry, R.-N.C., said in a speech on the House floor. “It will not bring jobs back to the United States.”

The measure attracted just two Republican votes on Friday while drawing unanimous support from House Democrats.

Axne, a first-term lawmaker, pointed to a March 12 House Financial Services Committee hearing with Tim Sloan, who was then CEO of Wells Fargo, in explaining why she sponsored the legislation.

At the hearing, Sloan denied that 400 layoffs of workers in Des Moines in late 2018 were the result of the San Francisco company moving jobs overseas.

Axne told Sloan that she had an affidavit stating that a Wells employee in Des Moines was informed that her job was being moved to India.

Axne’s office has since heard from dozens of current and former Wells Fargo workers in Des Moines who said they were told to train replacements in India, according to the press release.

A Wells Fargo spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Outsourcing Layoffs Policymaking Workforce management Tim Sloan Patrick McHenry Wells Fargo Iowa