Dispatch from the front lines of the Fast Track battle

Ask any of our Teamster members…what happened after NAFTA?  Unequivocally, they would say, American jobs were lost.  There may be some other points made but that is definitely the topline takeaway.

And what’s going to happen if we let the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) pass?  Ten-thousand good union dairy jobs could be lost.  Some of the best jobs in California’s Central Valley.  And many more jobs in industries – both union and non-union — all across California.

That’s why Rome Aloise, head of the Joint Council 7, sent me to DC on a red eye flight to lay it all on the table to fight Fast Track.  I’ve been hitting the doors all day, thanking members of Congress who are with working people and banging on those who are still sitting on the fence. Happy to report Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican, will stand with workers and vote against fast-tracking the job-killing TPP.

But overall, it’s  been a tough day.

It’s tough because I cannot believe I am fighting President Obama, in cahoots with the Republican controlled Congress, to save our jobs.  I cannot believe that a few Congressional Democrats like Ami Bera are trying to get this horrible deal over the finish line for Corporate America.  I cannot believe that 600 corporate lobbyists have password access to the biggest trade deal my generation has seen and workers are totally shut out.  I am witnessing the power of mighty corporate CEOs, inexplicably teamed up with a Democratic president and anti-worker Republicans, against working people in America.

Speaking of the President…why didn’t we have the power of the Presidency behind us to reform our nation’s labor laws?  Why hasn’t the President dispatched his cabinet secretaries to fight income inequality or made it a top priority to raise the federal minimum wage?  Why didn’t we get comprehensive immigration reform done?

Teamsters know the value of politics.  We put our money and our bodies where our mouths are.  We deliver for our workers and we deliver for members of Congress who put the needs of working people ahead of the demands of corporate lobbyists.  My message to our members has always been – when we win in politics, we win for working families.  And our members understand that when politicians desert us and all workers, we have no problem deserting them.