State Lawmakers Leery Over Trade Pact Benefits

State legislators gathered this week in San Antonio, TX for the National Conference of State Legislatures are paying close attention to real-world impact of poorly-negotiated trade agreements.

Many state legislators remain highly skeptical of the free trade agreement’s (FTA) benefits despite three years of intense propaganda, including at least two visits to conference meetings by the U.S. Trade Representative and many visits by his staff and representatives of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

At one conference event titled, “Trade 101,” legislators heard from IAM member Clem Smith, who also serves as a Missouri Democratic State Representative. Smith joined other union activists asking hard questions about the negative impacts of current trade agreements on the American people.

Later in the week, Smith joined John A. Kowalko, Jr., a retired IAM member and member of the Delaware General Assembly, who led a series of progressive policy discussions on Social Security cuts, mine safety, World Trade Organization (WTO) policies and the need for states to have a voice in the granting of any new Trade Promotion Authority.

“IAM members like Reps. Smith, Kowalko and others who serve as elected officials are part of the union’s mission to secure justice on the job while providing service to the community,” said IAM Director of Legislative and Political Action Matt McKinnon. “Their leadership and common-sense recommendations during trade policy debates provided lawmakers at the conference with a choice of progressive policy solutions.”