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Cohen: Which Side Are You On?

American workers, who are fighting every day for their livelihoods and a fair wage, aren't going to sit by as President Obama finalizes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, CWA President Larry Cohen told The Ed Show.

American workers, who are fighting every day for their livelihoods and a fair wage, aren't going to sit by as President Obama finalizes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, CWA President Larry Cohen told The Ed Show.

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CWAers and coalition partners have been rallying across the nation against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. We are urging members of Congress to say no to “fast track” trade promotion authority for the secretive TPP trade deal.

"Millions of us have to stand up and say, 'No,'" said Cohen, noting that workers are fed up with the government trading away our jobs. "And we have to stand up and say to Republicans and Democrats in the Congress, 'Which side are you on? The Chamber of Commerce or working America?'"

Right now, corporations and the Chamber of Commerce are putting pressure on lawmakers to pass "Fast Track," a bill that will speed the TPP and other trade deals through Congress without debate and without amendments. But a coalition of community organizers, consumers, labor and greens are mobilizing – particularly in rural America – to raise awareness on how this controversial trade plan will hurt our economy, health and safety.

Cohen explained that Vietnam, one of the 12 nations participating in the Pacific Rim trade deal, tramples the rights of its 90 million people, who earn a 28-cent hourly minimum wage. Multinational corporations can't wait to take advantage of even lower wages and fewer regulations.

Cohen said, "The State Department believes this will move Vietnam closer to the U.S. and a few steps from China. And meanwhile, the president will say things like, 'It will increase jobs.' But every fifth grader knows that you have to do subtraction, not just the addition. And we'll have a net loss of manufacturing jobs to Vietnam and service sector jobs to other nations that will join the TPP. There will be a net job loss as there has been on every trade deal since NAFTA."

In addition, a dangerous corporate sovereignty chapter is being written into the deal, which will allow multinational corporations to sue national governments in secret tribunals for any loss of future profits. This backdoor legislation will allow Big Business to circumvent our Congress, our laws and our regulations.

"This is once again a deal where labor rights will be symbolic and the enforcement of them useless," Cohen said.

Watch the full interview here

And Cohen wrote the "Opposing View" column in USA Today to the newspaper's editorial endorsing TPP: "This deal is not about trade; it is about foreign policy and about protecting the profits of multinational corporations," he writes.

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