Momentum Builds in Massachusetts to Pass Buy America Legislation

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Mar 29 2022 |
The Boston skyline over Quincy Market. Getty Images

A coalition of labor unions, businesses, and nonprofit organizations voiced their support for S. 2546, An Act to Promote American Manufacturing. Now it’s your turn.

It’s been a few months since we last checked in on S. 2546, a bill in Massachusetts that would require taxpayer-funded projects over $500,000 to be built with American-made materials.

The legislation now sits with the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which has until April 15 to advance it. We are in favor of this bill, and we aren’t alone — a coalition of 77 labor unions, manufacturers, businesses, and nonprofit organizations wrote to the committee last week urging them to vote in favor of the measure.

As the coalition explained:

“Reinvesting tax dollars into the local and national economy promotes growth, expands the tax base, and—by creating more job opportunities for middle-class Americans—reduces the burden on social safety net programs.

“As companies continue to invest in their U.S. operations, they modernize plants to make them safe and efficient, and create jobs in the process. This legislation will ensure that as Massachusetts regulates the way U.S. manufacturers do business, Massachusetts will do its best to encourage U.S. production and investment.”

Signers of the letter include the United Steelworkers (USW); Blue Green Alliance (BGA); Industrial Union Council at the AFL-CIO; Steel Fabricators of New England; American Iron and Steel Institute; Rail Security Alliance; American Welding Society, Section 009; and dozens more. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) also signed the letter.

The federal government and at least 38 states already have similar laws on the books to apply “Buy America” preferences to taxpayer-funded projects. There’s plenty of precedent for these types of laws, and a whole lot of support — public opinion polls routinely show that a wide swath of voters from across the political spectrum like Buy America.

Meanwhile, President Biden has repeatedly maintained his administration will follow Buy America and has taken a number of steps to strengthen it, including the creation of the new Made in America Office.

As the coalition wrote, it’s time for Massachusetts to get in on the action. Not only will this benefit local workers and businesses, but it will help ensure taxpayer money isn’t given to America’s adversaries and other global competitors:

“Unlike their foreign competitors in places like China, India and Russia, United States manufacturers are heavily regulated and do not rely on subsidies from their government to make them more competitive. Massachusetts’ procurement policies should not be divorced from its public policies. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to bolster foreign state-owned enterprises, nor should they reward companies that have moved their operations, investment dollars, and jobs away to foreign countries that lack or completely disregard reasonable environmental and workplace safety regulations.”

AAM’s own Brian Lombardozzi, who grew up in Worcester, Mass., wrote to our supporters in Massachusetts urging them to write to their state lawmakers in support of S. 2546. Lombardozzi has manufacturing roots in the state — both his grandfather and great grandfather worked at Worcester Wire Works — and S. 2546 will help “make sure manufacturers in Massachusetts, New England, and the United States are able to create jobs that can help provide for strong middle-class families,” he wrote.

“Without these sensible changes enacted into law, Massachusetts will continue a path of sending Bay Stater’s hard-earned tax dollars to foreign firms, even when American workers stand ready to do the work,” Lombardozzi noted.

If you live in Massachusetts, you can raise your voice in support of this bill, too. Click here or on the image below and urge your lawmakers to support S. 2546.