June 13, 2006 – The AFL-CIO has filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) charging the Chinese government with violently suppressing workers’ basic rights as part of a systematic effort to maintain an unfair trade advantage in the global marketplace.
The 301 petition, named after the section of U.S. trade regulations, says China’s failure to protect workers’ rights amounts to an unfair trade practice that has cost more than a million U.S. jobs. The AFL-CIO report highlights a number shocking statistics highlighting the harm of China’s unfair trade practices.
· Since 1998, over 3.4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost – 2.9 million of those since 2001 – with over half that total coming from union shops.
· Since 1999, over 40,000 manufacturing establishments have closed – medium and large plant closures have accounted for 90 percent of the job loss.
· Studies confirm ongoing job loss to China: The International Trade Commission model shows that up to 973,000 manufacturing jobs and 1,235,000 total jobs are displaced by China’s repression of labor rights. The Economic Policy Institute estimates 410,000 manufacturing jobs were lost to China between 2002 and 2004. US-China Economic Security Review Commission studies conclude that 70,000 to 100,000 jobs are moved annually to China, and those numbers accelerated after 2001.
The petition calls 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.