Tester moves to keep American jobs filled by Americans

Senator backs measure to protect American workers

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – As the U.S. Senate debates a bill aimed at boosting small businesses, Senator Jon Tester is fighting to prevent companies from firing American workers in favor of cheaper foreign guest workers.

Tester is cosponsoring a bipartisan amendment to prohibit companies that have announced mass layoffs over the past year from hiring foreign guest workers unless those companies can prove their overall employment is not reduced by those layoffs.

The Employ America amendment would expand on similar provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which prevented companies receiving taxpayer bailout money from replacing laid-off Americans with workers from other countries.

“Our message is simple: if you’re forced to lay off American workers, you shouldn’t be allowed to go back and fill those spots with foreign guest workers,” said Tester, who worked to secure the American worker provision in the Recovery Act in 2009.  “As we continue creating jobs and rebuilding our economy, we’ve got to keep putting American workers and their families first.”

Recently, some of the very companies that have hired tens of thousands of foreign workers have announced large scale layoffs of Americans, including companies in the high-tech and construction industries.

On Friday nearly 350 Montanans attended Tester’s Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Kalispell.  Tester organized the successful, daylong event—and three similar events over the past year—to create jobs and new small business opportunities in Montana.