Thursday, January 30, 2014

Teamsters, Fast Track opponents making an impact. You can too.

Demos Demopoulos, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 553,
denouncing Fast Track at a New York press conference last week.
Members of Congress are starting to listen to the thousands of Teamsters who are calling, emailing, rallying and telling them face-to-face: Vote NO on Fast Track.

Fast Track is a bill that would prevent Congress from vetting every detail of trade deals (like the TPP) to make sure they benefit American workers and not multinational corporations. America has lost 60,000 factories over the past 13 years, so we clearly don't need to be signing any more of these so-called 'free-trade' agreements.

Teamsters and allies such as the Citizens Trade Campaign, CWA and the Sierra Club are leading a grass-roots campaign to stop Fast Track. Over the past few weeks, Teamsters and allies made tens of thousands of telephone calls and sent even more emails to their representatives in Congress. It's working, but we can't stop now.

Tomorrow is a Teamsters Day of Action to call your member of Congress to vote no on Fast Track. The number is 1-888-979-9806. You'll hear a message that tells you exactly what to do. Can't call? Send an email. Just click here for a sample message to send to your representative in Congress. Your local may be participating in one of dozens of nationwide rallies tomorrow to oppose Fast Track, so contact your local or check here to see if there's one near you.

Opposition to Fast Track is building in the Senate, as Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will not bring it to the floor. The real battle right now is in the House, where Speaker John Boehner will work to pass Fast Track if he can get the votes. It's important to spread the word that 87 percent of Republican voters (a group Bohener has to be concerned about) oppose Fast Track, according to a poll released yesterday.

Here's more good news. As Politico reported, opposition to Fast Track is growing among Democrats:
...On Monday, 550 labor, environmental and consumer advocacy groups – including the United Autoworkers, which has lent Obama critical backing on previous free trade pacts such as the South Korea deal – sent a letter to Congress urging them to reject the fast-track bill.
The fight is far, far from over. What the big corporations want from Congress, the big corporations generally get. Supporters of Fast Track will likely come up with some sort of cosmetic improvement, like the U.S.-Colombia Labor Action Plan. The LAP fig leaf was supposed to prevent continued murders of union leaders in Colombia after the so-called free-trade deal was ratified. It didn'tColombian union leader Luis Marin Rolong Ever was murdered in cold blood by unknown gunmen on January 4. His killer may never be punished. 

The South Korea Free Trade deal won UAW support because it was supposed to increase U.S. exports of automobiles. It didn't.  The U.S. sold hardly any automobiles to S. Korea while we're being flooded with Kias and Hyundais.

So please, if you value your good American job, call 1-888-979-9806, email, rally or sign the petition.