by Paul Garver
Presidents of the IBT [Teamsters], USW [Steelworkers], UFCW [Food & Commercial Workers], IAM [Machinists] and CWA [Communication Workers] all issued statements today urging continued opposition to the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] treaty. Full statements follow.
HOFFA SAYS TENUOUS TPP AGREEMENT DOES NOT LISTEN TO WORKERS’CONCERNS
Teamsters General President Notes Everyday Americans Gain Nothing From Trade Agreement
(WASHINGTON) – The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to trade officials reaching an agreement on the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal which would lead to thousands of U.S. jobs being shipped overseas and unsafe food and products flooding our store shelves.
“Bum trade deals like NAFTA have killed upwards of 1 million U.S. jobs, many of which moved abroad. And that’s the concern with the looming TPP. These big business handouts continue to hollow out the manufacturing base of communities and destroy middle-class jobs in their wake.
“The Teamsters and many, many others just don’t see any value in what TPP brings to this country. First and foremost is the deal won’t create any new jobs here. That is significant and can’t be pushed aside by proponents. After all, TPP backers like to insist it will result in new work for Americans, although they can never quite explain how. There’s a reason why their responses are so vague.
“In short, this is a bad deal that doesn’t deserve the stamp of approval from Congress. As the Teamsters have stressed as part of our new “Let’s Get America Working!” campaign, businesses need to invest at home, not abroad. And elected officials need to remember who they serve. Corporations aren’t people too.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit http://www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/teamsters.
USW Pres. Gerard Statement on TPP Coming to Closure
The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal should not be submitted to Congress
Pittsburgh (Oct. 5) – Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), issued the following statement as negotiations on the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)are coming to closure.
“Since negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) started, the cleared advisors of the United Steelworkers (USW) have devoted substantial resources and time to working with the trade negotiators responsible for developing and advancing U.S. interests in the trade talks.
“Because the USW is the largest industrial union in North America, we see the real-life effects of trade policy every day. That is why we are paying close attention to the provisions that have the potential to harm the majority of our membership.
“From what we know, the draft TPP threatens the future of production and employment. It compromises the so-called 21st century standards that were supposed to form the foundation for this agreement. It will deal a critical blow to workers and their standard of living in the United States.
“Although the final text has not been made available and will contain some new bells and whistles; from what we have seen and know, at its core the hastily concluded TPP deal will simply continue today’s outdated, disastrous approach to trade.
“This TPP deal shouldn’t even be submitted to Congress and, if it is, it should be quickly rejected.
“You only have to look at the consistently dismal job numbers in manufacturing to understand what every manufacturing worker already knows. We have been on the losing end of trade deals.
“Once again, it appears that misguided foreign policy and global corporate interests have trumped sound economics and the opportunity to get things right. Our negotiators are trying to beat the clock to close a deal so they can rush it through Congress before next year’s elections.
“TPP is sold as a way for the United States to write the rules of trade before China does. In many areas, the agreement fails this objective and the language on rules of origin will put a smile on the faces of China’s leaders. China didn’t get to write the rules in their favor because our American negotiators did it for them.
“The rule of origin on autos governs how much of a vehicle’s content must be produced by the twelve TPP countries to get the preferential treatment the TPP will provide. In this quickly concluded deal on rules of origin, Chinese-produced auto parts could account for more than a majority of a car’s parts and still get sweetheart treatment. While China is not as yet a party to the twelve-nation TPP, the TPP is designed so that other countries can join.
“In many other areas critical to workers, U.S. negotiators refused to take the advice that was provided to them time and time again by the representatives of working people. But while supporters tout the deal, those promises will fall on deaf ears. Workers across this country have had to fight to get our trade rules enforced in the face of inadequate enforcement and constant cheating by our trading partners.
“Even the best rules, which were not included in TPP, if unenforced, are essentially worthless. How trade rules are implemented, how we monitor imports, obtain market access for our exports and how we enforce our rules are all critical to any deal’s success.
“So far, there has been no progress or willingness of the Administration to even discuss specific steps that could be taken.
“TPP may be the final blow to manufacturing in America. Our producers and workers are under siege from other nations’ massive overproduction, foreign currency devaluation, our own lack of long-term infrastructure investment and the strong dollar.
“Therefore, trade policy is not the only issue that determines what the economic prospects will be for working people. But, trade is the critical link to the world economy and global pressures are being felt in virtually every occupation and in every workplace.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.
UFCW President Perrone Statement on TPP Negotiators
Reaching a Final Agreement
Washington, D.C. — Today, Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, released the following statement regarding news that Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators had reached a final agreement.
“The only good thing about a TPP agreement being reached is that the American people will finally be able to read every line of this deal.
“Given what we already know from leaked drafts, we should prepare for the worst, and expect even worse than that.
“This deal will most likely fail to address currency manipulation, offer big pharmaceutical corporations unacceptable protections that will limit access to life-saving medicine, and threaten every hard-working American family with job losses and lower wages. How could this be good for America?
“Contrary to the rosy rhetoric and false promises, a long history of trade agreements proves that the TPP will have a devastating impact upon our families, our jobs, and this nation.
“In the coming months, hard-working men and women who are a part of the UFCW family will be pushing every member of Congress – Republican and Democrat – to see the harmful effects of this deal through the eyes of everyday American families.
“Make no mistake, this fight is not over.”
Machinist Union President Responds to TPP
The following is a statement from International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) International President Tom Buffenbarger regarding terms of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership:
As a labor union whose members build products that are exported all over the world, the IAM has always taken a strong interest in the development and growth of international trade. We know firsthand that trade done right will improve living standards and strengthen our economy to the benefit of all Americans. Unfortunately, the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a new low in corporate dominance of our national trade agenda. Despite the rhetoric, this deal represents a step backward in efforts to achieve effective labor standards and human rights.
Negotiated in secret by and for multinational corporations that have no allegiance to any flag or country, the TPP will facilitate the export of American jobs to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Mexico which lack fundamental labor rights, some of which even engage in slave labor. Reports of a secret side agreement with Vietnam are especially offensive to anyone who takes internationally recognized labor standards seriously.
Earlier this year, Congress passed Fast Track legislation that laid out an ambitious set of negotiating goals that we, and others, warned were completely unenforceable. Reports indicate that we were correct in our assumption about the congressional negotiating goals; the U.S. Trade Representative simply ignored them. Although the agreement has not been made public yet, these reports indicate that, substandard labor standards remain weak and ineffective, currency manipulation has not been effectively addressed, rules of origin for autos are greatly weakened, access to affordable medicines is reduced, post Great Recession financial regulations were made less effective, and secret non-governmental tribunals will interpret and enforce the agreement.
As job and income growth continue to stagnate, Americans know that the economic system is rigged against them and the TPP is just the latest example. Congress must put the American people first and reject this deeply flawed trade agreement.
The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in the U.S. and represent nearly 600,000 active and retired members across North America. Visit http://www.goiam for more information about the Machinists Union.
CWA Statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Washington, D.C. — Following is a statement by CWA President Chris Shelton on the announcement that negotiators have reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Negotiators from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal countries, meeting in Atlanta, have announced an agreement. Despite all the hype, and given what we’ve learned over the past many months and years of negotiations, it is clear that this TPP remains a bad deal for working families and communities.
The corporate lobbyists who make up the majority of U.S. trade advisors have been pushing hard for an agreement, mainly because they’ve known all along that what’s in the TPP represents a sweet deal for multinational corporations and the 1 percent. For the rest of us U.S. working families and communities, and workers in the other TPP countries this agreement is bad news.
Despite broad promises from the Obama administration and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that the deal would deliver for middle-class families, working people know that TPP would be a disaster. It would continue the offshoring of jobs and weakening of our communities that started under the North American Free Trade Agreement and hasn’t stopped. It would mean labor and environmental standards that look good on paper but fall flat when it comes to enforcement. It’s a corporate dream but a nightmare for those of us on Main Street.
We’re still very concerned about the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process. The window dressing changes adopted in Atlanta don’t change the fact that corporations still have an extra-judicial process– ISDS — to enforce their rights. That’s not the case for labor and environmental standards. Instead, we have labor and environmental standards that look good on paper but fall flat when it comes to enforcement.
And we’re concerned that the protections given to pharmaceutical companies will mean that life-saving drugs won’t be affordable for millions.
Before the TPP is put to a full vote in Congress, there must be adequate time for full review and discussion. Even on the quickest timetable, a vote that can’t happen until early 2016. Few members of Congress will want to vote in an election year on the mass giveaway of U.S. jobs that this TPP allows.
CWA and our allies will be certain to hold accountable those members of Congress who support this giveaway to the 1 percent.
Contact: Candice Johnson, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168, firstname.lastname@example.org