TPP Trade Deal Fast Track Derails Workers Rights

Capital Times Editorial Board (4/27/15)

Trade policy can sound complicated. But it’s not. Multinational corporations want a free hand to embark on a race to the bottom — constantly leaping across borders in search of sites where protections for workers are limited, where the environment is not protected, and where the ability of citizens to say “no” to corporate power is controlled by authoritarian governments.

If Congress approves fast-track trade promotion authority and surrenders its full power to oversee and amend the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, the corporations are likely to get what they want. If Congress retains its oversight authority, workers and citizens and communities, in the U.S. and abroad, have a chance to get what they need.

The corporations and their political pawns will make their self-serving claims. They always do.

But the truth remains that, as Congressman Mark Pocan warns, “This trade promotion authority bill repeats the trade mistakes of the past and fails to provide critical protections for American workers, the environment, and our overall economy.”

The Wisconsin Democrat does not ask constituents to simply trust him. He asks them to consider the reality they have witnessed.

“Over the last three decades, in large part because of bad trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA, Americans have worked harder than ever for less. In fact, hundreds of thousands of jobs — factory jobs, middle-class jobs — in states across the country were lost,” says Pocan. “Anyone who does not see the connection between our economy and the failed trade agreements of the past will remain on the wrong side of the future. We cannot let history repeat itself by pushing a trade promotion authority bill which paves the road for an agreement which undermines American sovereignty and puts our workers’ wages and jobs at risk.”

Pocan is right to be opposed. And Wisconsin is lucky to have a congressman who does not bend to corporate spin and power.

Link to Story

  • Push For Secretive Trade Deal Is A War On Workers — Manufacturing jobs have been the backbone of the American workforce. During the heyday of U.S. middle-class growth in the mid-20th century, millions toiled at work that may have been hard on the body, but brought home enough to support a family. Times have changed. Bum trade deals like NAFTA killed upwards of 1 million U.S. jobs, many of which were shipped overseas. And it’s still a problem, as the looming 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows. These big business handouts continue to hollow out the manufacturing base of communities and destroy middle-class jobs in their wake. President Obama in an interview last week downplayed the impact of unfair trade on the U.S. workforce, arguing that many manufacturing jobs are low-paying. But I disagree with the president. This nation’s manufacturing base provides a pathway to prosperity for many Americans, especially those who work union jobs. The Teamsters represent thousands of them. And this administration cannot shut the door on their future. You don’t have to just take my word on this. Members of the business community, like representatives from The Main Street Alliance and the U.S. Business and Industry Council, are saying that approving the TPP using fast track trade promotion authority will jeopardize good-paying U.S. jobs. The Pacific Rim Trade deal will only increase the 5 million manufacturing jobs lost since 2000 … Read the Rest


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