A call to action: Make the CHIPS Act deliver for all of us!

DRAFT (7/4/2023)

A call to action for labor, civil rights, environmental and community groups:

Make the CHIPS Act deliver for all of us!


The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Biden in August 2022.[1]

The Act provides $52 billion in grants and loans to invest in building and upgrading the next generation of high-end semiconductor fabrication plants and other facilities necessary to the semiconductor supply chain.

The CHIPS incentives represent a massive investment of public funding to private industry with the goal of rebuilding a sustainable domestic semiconductor industry and reinforcing critical U.S. supply chains. In exchange for such enormous public subsidies, the semiconductor industry must be held accountable to deliver real, tangible, economic and social benefits for working people and the communities where these facilities are sited.

However, we cannot assume positive outcomes: The semiconductor industry has a well-documented track record — starting in Silicon Valley and expanding globally — of polluting the environment, poisoning workers, busting unions, and burdening host communities with significant problems.[2]

The semiconductor industry also has a long history of seeking tax-break “incentives” that shift the tax burden for schools and other public services onto small businesses and working families. A misreading of the CHIPS Act by politicians is causing massive overspending at the state and local level, as semiconductor companies have already wrangled subsidy deals totaling more than $10 billion in state and local money in just five states, with more in the works.[3] In reality, the Act does not require that any state or local monies go directly to companies or match CHIPS dollars. Instead, it encourages investments in public goods including education, training, and infrastructure.

The U.S. Commerce Department (DOC) oversees implementation of the CHIPS Act and has committed to engage with host communities, unions, environmental organizations, and budget watchdogs to enforce conditions and guardrails on the CHIPS incentives.

A Call to Action!
We can’t rely on the Commerce Dept. alone to ensure these heavily subsidized semiconductor facilities are held accountable. That’s why we are forming a new national coalition to assist – and empower – communities where the chip facilities will be located. Specifically, the semiconductor companies should come to agreements with communities to provide the following:

    • Worker and community investment, including training and education benefits to be paid by the companies;
    • Affirmative recruitment and training for women, people of color, veterans, citizens returning from incarceration, and other economically disadvantaged workers;
    • Job quality standards for high-road, family and community sustaining jobs, with contractually binding commitments to deliver on promised wages, benefits, and other terms;
    • Disclosure of the actual number of jobs created and wages and benefits paid with safeguards to ensure performance-based incentive structures, and no “payoffs for layoffs”;
    • A workplace culture where workers’ rights are respected, and employees feel confident to exercise their freedom to organize and form unions without management retaliation or harassment;
    • “State of the art” health and safety training to mirror their state-of-the-art production technology, especially for women of childbearing age to assure that they are safe from reproductive and developmental toxins (especially because workplace toxic exposure standards are vastly weaker than environmental standards);
    • Cleaner production facilities – both in fabs and across the supply chain – that do no harm to workers’ health, nor to our air, soil, and water;
    • Protection of water and air resources (downstream / downwind) where the new chip plants are located;
    • Affordable housing, support for public education and access to jobs via public transportation.

Ready to support the Call to Action and join the campaign? Sign on here: CHIPS Communities United Campaign. For more information contact: Rand Wilson, rand.wilson@gmail.com or call 617-949-9720.



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