Monday, September 16, 2013

Unions, activists to protest TPP in DC Friday

It’s no secret (at least to Teamster Nation readers) that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a raw deal for America’s workers and consumers. But unions and TPP opponents on Friday will take that message to decision makers themselves.

A noontime rally is planned outside the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in downtown Washington, D.C., to coincide with a meeting of negotiators from the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations in the nation’s capital. While all 18 rounds of discussions have been held behind closed doors, this one is even more secretive and won’t include an opportunity for stakeholders to comment.
The Obama administration and multinational corporations have made it clear they want to push forward with finalizing the TPP as soon as possible. They tout economic gains for employers and employees alike. But the numbers just don’t support those claims. A report released last week by the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that even when using the most pro-TPP statistics to determine U.S. economic growth, the deal would result in a pay cut for 90 percent of U.S. workers.

The TPP seems like even less of a good deal when you add lax seafood rules, the use of child labor to make garments for sale in the U.S. and potential changes that could wreck the U.S. dairy industry. At least, that is, for those who aren’t multinational corporations.
Americans aren’t against trade, they just want fair trade. They oppose putting U.S. workers at a disadvantage and U.S. consumers at risk. They’ve seen enough lost jobs, shuttered plants and hollowed-out communities.

It's time to rebuild the middle class, not tear it down, and that means only approving trade deals that benefit working Americans. Let trade negotiators know that Sept. 20.