State Senate Dems to Introduce 'Outsourcing Relief' Bills

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With Michigan jobs headed overseas, some state legislators say the victims of outsourcing need some help from the state.

Michigan has lost more than 300 thousand jobs since the turn of the century, according to a study from the University of Michigan.

To be sure, some of those jobs disappeared -- lost to improvements in technology. But a substantial portion of those jobs were lost to other countries.

State Senate Democrats are pushing bills to assist those who lost their jobs due to outsourcing. Senator Mark Schauer of Battle Creek, who represents Jackson, is a co-sponsor.

"We need to stand up for the workers who in same cases are on their second or third plant closing. They're losing their jobs to Mexico ... overseas."

Among the proposals are car and home loan assistance, tuition loans for the children of outsourced workers, a waiver of community college admissions requirements, and an extension of unemployment benefits from 26 to 39 weeks.

Democrats say the plan would help workers like those about to lose their jobs at this Eaton plant in Marshall, west of Jackson. Republicans say they want to know how much the plan will cost.

Schauer says he's not sure how much money the plan will require.

In addition to cost concerns, a spokesman for state Senate Republicans says Democrats "focused on helping workers after they've lost their jobs." The Republicans, Ari Adler says, "would rather focus on protecting jobs in the first place."

Schauer says he'll work with Republicans -- who control the state legislature -- to make the relief proposals a reality. He says the consequences of doing nothing are dire.

"What's the alternative? That we continue to see bankruptcies? We continue to see families moving out of state because there are no options here?" Schauer said.

The bill to extend unemployment has already been proposed.

Democrats will release the other parts of the plan at the state house Monday.

With Republicans in control of the legislature, Democrats will need a least a little bit of their help for the plans to pass.

-- in Lansing and Marshall, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.