July 24, 2006 – The Bush Administration on Friday rejected an AFL-CIO petition demanding China stop denying workers their basic rights, once again failing to take a hard line on China’s unfair trade practices.
The 301 petition, named after the section of U.S. trade regulations, said China’s failure to protect workers’ rights amounts to an unfair trade practice that has cost more than a million U.S. jobs. The petition called on President Bush to use his authority under U.S. law to impose sanctions against China and to implement a system to verify compliance with internationally recognized workers’ rights.
AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka called the decision a “slap in the face to Chinese and American workers who expect our government to uphold the law.”
Earlier this month, forty members of Congress, including Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, have sent a letter to President Bush urging him to accept the AFL-CIO’s petition.
“Unless we hold China accountable for violations of basic workers rights, its leaders will conclude that they can get all the benefits of access to markets in the United States and other developed countries without adopting reforms. This would allow firms an ill-gotten competitive advantage over companies in the United Sates, and set back critical reform efforts,” the letter stated.
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