Statement of Machinists Union International President Tom Buffenbarger on the Labor Advisory Committee’s TPP Report

Washington, D.C., December 7, 2015 – Tom Buffenbarger, International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and Chair of the Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, issued the following statement following the committee’s release of a 90-page report critiquing labor standards in the TPP:

“The Labor Advisory Committee is established by Congress to advise the administration and Congress on trade matters. While hundreds of representatives from corporations serve on dozens of other trade advisory committees, the LAC is made up of leaders of our nation’s labor unions. These leaders represent millions of hard-working Americans in every sector and industry imaginable.

“In addition to serving the IAM, I am proud to serve as the chair of the LAC and very proud of the report our committee has submitted to the president and Congress. In my opinion, the LAC report is the most comprehensive public review of the TPP released by any group outside of the government.

“As clearly indicated throughout the report, it is the conclusion of the members of the LAC that the TPP is not in the interest of the U.S. economy, workers and the communities they reside. The TPP is unbalanced in its provisions, skewing benefits to economic elites while leaving workers to bear the brunt of the TPP’s downside. The TPP is likely to harm the U.S. economy, cost jobs and lower wages.

“The TPP will strengthen the already formidable economic and political power of corporations and increase the offshoring of America’s jobs and productive capacity. Despite claims that workers’ rights will be strengthened by TPP, it is our firm conclusion that TPP will weaken workers’ rights by threatening wages and undermining international labor standards.

“Toxic provisions like the investor to state dispute settlement mechanism, rules of origin, access to medicines, government procurement, state-owned enterprises, environmental provisions and the lack of any meaningful language on currency manipulation are not in the interests of the U.S. economy, its workers or their communities.

“The LAC urges the President in the strongest possible terms to reverse course now. Do not send this TPP to Congress.

“If TPP is sent to Congress, we urge Congress to quickly reject it.”

The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents nearly 600,000 active and retired members in aerospace, transportation, manufacturing, shipbuilding, woodworking and other industries. Visit www.goiam.org for more information about the IAM.