WASHINGTON -- The re-election campaign of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and a trio of labor groups are calling on GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown to resign from a company that outsourced U.S. jobs.
Shaheen said Monday that she supports a letter signed by the New Hampshire chapters of three Democratic-leaning labor groups: SEIU Local 1984, the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, seeking Brown's resignation from the board of directors of Kadant, Inc. The move is the latest effort by Democrats in the Granite State to highlight Brown's role at the Massachusetts-based company, which has outsourced jobs to China and Mexico to capitalize on cheap labor, according to a recent report in the Nashua Telegraph.
The paper reported last week that Brown has earned $270,000 from Kadant, an equipment supplier for the pulp and paper industry, since joining the company in February 2013. Kadant has 14 manufacturing facilities total, four of which are based in the United States. The rest of the its manufacturing operations are located in countries that include China, Mexico, Brazil, France, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The company defended its record to the Telegraph by noting that outsourcing jobs helped secure more business and thus boosted domestic jobs, but that hasn't stopped Shaheen's campaign from seizing on the report and labeling Brown as out of touch with the needs of New Hampshire residents.
"Scott Brown has to answer to the people of New Hampshire who deserve to know why he was collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a company that shipped American jobs overseas and that relies on low-cost manufacturing bases in China and Mexico," Mike Vlacich, Shaheen's campaign manager, said Monday. "New Hampshire can’t afford a U.S. Senator like Scott Brown who cares more about lining his own pockets -- even if it means taking jobs from U.S. workers. Scott Brown should resign from this company immediately."
A spokeswoman for Brown's campaign did not immediately return a request for comment on the calls for Brown's resignation. In recent days, his campaign has responded to the outsourcing attacks by pointing out that Shaheen is no stranger to shipping jobs overseas, citing programs that were outsourced when Shaheen served as governor of New Hampshire and donations she receives from companies that outsource jobs.
The labor groups asking Brown to step down from Kadant's board argue that their problems with him are not limited to outsourcing. In their letter, the groups also criticize Brown's opposition to increasing the minimum wage and his vote against the Paycheck Fairness Act in 2012, while serving as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.
HuffPost Pollster's average, which combines all publicly available polling in the race, currently shows Shaheen leading Brown by about 6 percentage points.
Read the letter calling for Brown's resignation below:
To Mr. Scott Brown:
Our organizations represent thousands of New Hampshire workers and their families. We were deeply troubled to read about your lucrative position with a company that outsourced jobs to China and Mexico. In New Hampshire, we value companies looking to create good jobs at good wages here, not those looking to increase their profits by killing American jobs and shifting production to low wages countries like Mexico or China. That is why we are asking you to step down from your position on the Board of Directors of Kadant, Inc.
As the Nashua Telegraph reported in the Sunday paper, you received over a quarter million dollars as a Director for Kadant, Inc.. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which you signed your name to, the company proudly touts “using low cost manufacturing bases, such as China and Mexico,” instead of creating American jobs.
In tough times New Hampshire workers need a Senator who will advocate for them; someone they can trust. We can't trust someone who doesn’t support increasing the minimum wage, voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, and lines his own pockets with more than a quarter of a million dollars from a company that sends American jobs overseas.
From 2002 to 2012, New Hampshire lost a higher percentage of jobs to China than any other state in the country, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Families here can’t afford a Senator who is personally profiting from corporate practices that hurt our economy. Again and again, Mr. Brown, it seems that you are looking out for your self-interests ahead of the people of New Hampshire.
We believe you owe New Hampshire an explanation about your decision to profit from a company whose practices hurt American workers, and further that you should resign from the board of this company.
We look forward to your response.
New Hampshire SEIU Local 1984 President Diana Lacey
New Hampshire AFL-CIO President, Mark S. MacKenzie
New Hampshire Teamsters Secretary-Treasurer David W. Laughton