Labor unions joined with progressive lawmakers, consumer advocates, environmentalists, and social justice and human rights lobbyists to launch a campaign against trade legislation that would allow the president and Congress to speed approval of free trade agreements.
“The AFL-CIO doesn’t just oppose fast track, we’re going to fight actively to kill it,” promised AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
The legislation would allow President Obama to bring proposed trade agreements such as the now-pending Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreements to Congress for simple yes-or-no votes, with no amendments allowed. Many trade experts say a fast-track process is critical to closing these deals that are expected to lower or eliminate trade barriers.
The unions fear that the agreements would prompt manufacturers to send jobs to lower-wage countries. They are circulating a petition condemning the fast-track legislation and are also planning to mobilize members to write and call their congressional representatives to tell them that free-trade agreements kill jobs.
The fast-track legislation is expected to be introduced in Congress early this year.
SFGate, Jan. 13
Reuters, Jan. 8