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Portland Jobs with Justice is a coalition of more than 90 labor organizations and community groups dedicated to protecting the rights of working people and supporting community struggles to build a more just society.

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Wyden Outsources Staff Jobs to South Korea


SALEM, Ore. —  In anticipation of the pending Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) became the first Member of Congress in history to outsource his office staff overseas. His Salem office was packed up and shipped to South Korea today, and the Senator announced plans to ship his La Grande, Bend, Eugene, Medford, Portland and Washington, DC offices to Korea soon.  
"I wanted to set an example for local employers and demonstrate just how easy it is to take advantage of lower-cost labor pools overseas," said Senator Wyden, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on International Trade. "With passage of the Korea trade deal, I expect businesses across Oregon and the country will be sending work to South Korea.  In tough economic times like these, it's an ideal way for businesses to reduce their expenses and pad their bottom lines."  
In January of this year, Senator Wyden's office released an analysis of the Korea Free Trade Agreement showing that it will increase the overall U.S. trade deficit even more than the official U.S. International Trade Commission's study on the pact found.  Despite the unorthodox methodology adopted in the Wyden analysis, the Senator believes his numbers show that the proposed trade deal will be good for corporate America.
"American businesses have been hamstrung by requirements to pay minimum wage and obey environmental laws — I know my offices certainly have been," said Senator Wyden.  "I can think of no better way to help boost the profits of my corporate supporters  than by helping them ship their operations to Asia."  
Senator Wyden acknowledged that there may be some initial reduction in constituent services as the result of his offices' relocation to South Korea, citing the nearly 12-hour difference in time zones, for instance.  Nonetheless, he argues that Oregonians as a whole will benefit from the cost savings associated with the move.
"Korean staffers can cash checks, take calls from lobbyists and rubber stamp their proposals at just a fraction of the cost of my American employees," said Senator Wyden.  "I value all that my Oregon- and DC-based staff have done for me, but the money we'll be saving the taxpayers by the shift to Korea just can't be overlooked.  Saving the taxpayers money has to come first.  In fact, one of the first tasks I have my new South Korean support team tackling is whether they can shift their office to the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea.  It looks like loopholes in the Korea Free Trade Agreement will let that happen."
For more information, contact Senator Wyden's Communications Director Kim No-joek at 503-326-7525 or 202-224-5244.  Both numbers are automatically forwarded to the Senator's new office in Seoul. 
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Faith Labor Breakfast

Feb 17, 2015 07:15 AM, St Andrews Church, 806 NE Alberta, Portland OR 97211

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Wage Theft: Robbing Workers and our Communities

Wage theft is reaching epidemic proportions. Come find out how it affects workers in Oregon and what you can do to help.

$15 per person. No one turned away for lack of funds.

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