Kent-Ionia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class

Fast Track legislation on trade deals will kill American jobs

WASHINGTON DC January 27, 2015– When Congress fast tracks trade deals, the rich get richer, but American workers take it on the chin. The Kent-Ionia Labor Council urges anyone who supports American jobs to sign this AFL-CIO petition and call 855-712-8441 to urge your legislators to say no to Fast Track legislation.fasttrack

What Fast Track is all about: Members of Congress have recently introduced a bill that would allow Fast Track trade deals (S. 1900 and H.R. 3830). The bills, introduced by Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Michigan’s own Rep. Dave Camp (R), would establish a process that allows no amendments and limited debate on such trade deals as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Once legislators have the Fast Track ticket in their hands, they are free to agree to provisions that will send jobs overseas, reduce the bargaining power of workers, jeopardize health and safety regulations and gives corporations more control over our economy and our trading partners’ economies.

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was fast tracked more than 20 years ago, it has since cost America more than a million jobs. When trade is unconditionally opened to countries that don’t respect the rights of their labor force, that means American workers are competing against third-world wages. We can’t do that, and we won’t do that.

More recent trade deals, like the World Trade Organization trade deal, had no labor or environmental standards at all. And other Fast Track trade deals have included Colombia, a country in which nearly 3,000 labor leaders and activists have been killed since 1986, and Korea—a country with which our trade deficit is already rising, and which, under the very low standards of the deal, can receive tariff benefits for cars that contain only 35% Korean content.

The Baucus-Hatch-Camp- bill would do nothing to fix the U.S. trade deficit or grow the middle class. In fact, it would interfere with important health and safety regulations, ensure the primacy of investor rights over labor rights and boost profits and incomes for global corporations and the top 1%. But it will shrink the paychecks of working families and make it less likely that America’s children can climb the ladder of success.

The trade deals the Fast Track authority would influence are shrouded in secrecy. The bill doesn’t give the public any opportunity to improve a bad deal. Indeed, it doesn’t even require Congress or an independent body to evaluate the trade deal to ensure it has a positive impact on the U.S. trade balance, job creation or environmental protections before the Fast Track procedures apply—every deal, no matter how bad, is entitled to the same preferential treatment. If passed, the bill would:

  1. Keep the very low congressional “standards” that allowed weak trade agreements like NAFTA to pass;
  2. Keep the negotiating process behind closed doors, subject to too much Wall Street and special interest influence;
  3. Ensure that irresponsible corporations remain unaccountable for labor and environmental violations anywhere in their supply chain.

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2015 by in Political news and tagged , .

Kent-Ionia Labor Council

The Kent-Ionia Labor Council, AFL-CIO is a coalition of west Michigan labor unions in Kent and Ionia Counties, based in Grand Rapids.

Address, phone, email

918 Benjamin NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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