WASHINGTON – Eight Maryland firms, including household names such as Black & Decker and Lockheed Martin, are on a list of companies nationwide that are exporting jobs overseas, according to an online database launched Thursday by the AFL-CIO.
Officials at Bethesda-based Lockheed vigorously disputed the label, saying they have actually added jobs in the state and country in recent years. Other firms that could be contacted Thursday declined comment.
But the AFL-CIO is standing behind the accuracy of Job Tracker, an interactive Web site set up by its Working America arm to let workers see which companies in their area either exported jobs or downsized as a result of global trade, between January 2001 and this May.
“American workers know their jobs are being shipped overseas,” said AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Richard Trumka. “But average workers have no way to actually see how this vast, global corporate system actually works.”
The union estimates that 935,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs were sent overseas between 2000 and 2003 and that 3.4 million white-collar jobs will go by 2015.
In addition to Lockheed and Black & Decker, Maryland firms on the list include Ciena Corp., Fawn Industries, Hi-Tech Plastics, Manugistics Group, Renaissance Mark and Sitel Corp.
A spokeswoman for Black & Decker, which moved 1,300 full- and part-time jobs from its Easton plant to facilities in Mexico and North Carolina over the last two years, would not provide immediate comment on the listing. Most of the other firms either could not be reached or declined comment.
But Lockheed challenged the charge that it is a job outsourcer. Thomas Greer, a spokesman for the defense contractor, said the company knows of “no authoritative source that could possibly validate allegations that the firm is an outsourcer of jobs.”
“In fact,” he said, the company “has been steadily increasing the number of jobs here in Maryland and throughout the United States.”
Greer said Lockheed added 3,000 jobs in Maryland in 2003, and that more job growth is expected.
But union officials defended their characterization of Lockheed as an outsourcer.
“CNN labels Lockheed as a job exporter,” said Working America Deputy Director Robert Fox. “And we think CNN is a reputable source.”
Fox said companies were tagged based on publicly available information culled by the union. Sources included Securities and Exchange Commission filings, local and national media research such as CNN’s “Exporting America” survey, as well as federally required worker adjustment and retraining notification notices and trade-adjustment assistance certifications.
But Greer noted that, as the largest defense contractor, many of the products and services Lockheed provides require its employees to possess security clearances that may only be held by U.S. citizens.
That may be good news to Marylanders.
“(Defense contractor) Northrup Grumman is one of the state’s largest employers, and I don’t see any outsourcing there,” said Bill Brodie, an administrator with the Maryland Department of Labor’s dislocated worker.
Brodie, whose unit tracks job losses, said he has not seen “a noticeable trend” toward outsourcing by Maryland businesses in recent years.
He suggested that Maryland’s relative dearth of manufacturers — by far the sector most affected by overseas outsourcing — could account for the difference.
“Maryland’s manufacturing base is at 13 to 14 percent, compared to, say, Pennsylvania’s at 23 to 24 percent,” Brodie said. All of the Maryland companies listed were manufacturers, save Ciena Corp., Manugistics and Sitel Corp.
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