The evidence just keeps mounting. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement, is a bad deal that could jeopardize U.S. jobs, wages, consumer safety and environmental standards, while pushing back workers’ rights in other countries even more.
Near-secret negotiations have been underway now for more than three years among governments. The next step will be a push for “fast-track” authority, which would restrict Congress from making any changes to the deal, allowing only an “up-or-down” vote. CWA and allies, including the Sierra Club and Citizens Trade Campaign, are fighting hard to block “fast track” legislation in Congress. “We have one message: No more Fast Track. We need Fair Trade, not Fast Track,” said CWA President Larry Cohen.
TTP negotiators from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries are discussing what could be the largest trade agreement in U.S. history. But only corporate lobbyists and government officials are at the bargaining table. In fact, most groups are permitted to view just individual sections of the draft text. Several members of Congress who were permitted to review documents, but not discuss them publicly, say the proposals grant multinational corporations new political powers. “Having seen what I’ve seen, I would characterize this as a gross abrogation of American sovereignty,” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) told The Huffington Post.
CWAers and allies have been protesting at the negotiation sites and rallying communities to make sure everyone knows what’s at stake. From Dallas to Peace Arch Park in Washington State, from Loudoun County, Va., to Minneapolis, CWA activists and allies are standing strong against the secrecy and greed of TPP. In August, District 7 CWA members and activists from TakeAction Minnesota and the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition joined forces to make sure Congress gets the message: “No fast track and no more secrecy.”
CWA and allies also are calling for the suspension of trade discussions until Vietnam ends its labor rights abuses, which have only worsened since the country entered into the TPP talks. A new report, released by the Worker Rights Consortium titled “Made in Vietnam,” examined the manufacturing sector and discovered forced labor, child labor, pregnancy and gender-based discrimination, health and safety hazards, excessive working hours and miserable wages. Read more at www.cwa-union.org/tpp.