|The Ohio State Council of Machinists and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), center in light blue shirt, joined many others in the labor, human rights and environmental communities to come out against Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.|
An upcoming vote in the U.S. Senate to “Fast Track” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a global free trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Latin American and Asian countries, represents “the same old corporate-driven approach to trade that has cost America hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs,” writes IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger in a letter to Congress.
Congress needs to hear your voice. A vote could be held by the end of April.
|Labor activists gather outside a district office of U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to rally against the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership.|
Negotiated behind closed doors and without a full and open debate by the American people, leaked texts of the TPP indicate that the deal seeks to undo the financial reform measures of Dodd-Frank, end Buy American requirements and undermine current U.S. regulations covering areas such as food safety, the environment, and patent and copyright law. A scheme known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) would even give multinational corporations the authority to sue foreign governments over perceived profit loss due to regulations.
Buffenbarger, and IAM members who have been fighting back against the TPP’s corporate power grab, are calling for an “open and transparent” negotiation process. Fast Track authority would only allow for limited debate of TPP and a straight up or down vote by Congress.
“For working Americans, our corporate driven trade policies have meant the continual threat of outsourcing, stagnant wages, and declining living standards,” writes Buffenbarger. “This will not change until deeply flawed free trade agreements like the TPP are negotiated not in the back room, but in the light of day.”
The TPP may seem confusing, says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, but its outcome for working people will be simple: offshored jobs and lower wages.
“It has the same provisions that give companies who offshore, who relocate their investments, special privileges and protections that make it cheaper and safer to move our jobs to low-wage countries,” said Wallach during a recent appearance on Democracy Now. “And TPP includes a lot of low-wage countries, which means our wages will get pushed down, when Americans are made to compete, for instance, with workers in Vietnam who are making less than 60 cents an hour.”
The Economic Policy Institute released a study which found the TPP is “likely to lower the wages of most American workers.” Read the study here.
For more information on Fast Track and TPP, visit StopFastTrack.com.