California Labor Urges Congress to Stand Up for Good Jobs, Reject Fast Track Legislation for Trade Agreements
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“Democracy is dependent upon transparency and open, public debate. Yet, with today’s introduction of legislation that would put potentially devastating trade deals on the fast track to approval without proper congressional oversight or public input, Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Hatch (R-UT) are playing a dangerous game with livelihoods of working people across California and the country. Previous fast-tracked trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and normalizing trade relations with China have cost California 650,000 jobs. Not just any jobs, but good, family supporting jobs that sustain our state’s middle class.
“There’s currently no reason to believe the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement would be any different from previous trade deals that have ripped hundreds of thousands of California workers from the middle class. The TPP, a huge trade deal that covers 12 countries and 40 percent of the world’s GDP, is being negotiated secretly by former corporate lobbyists with little information available to the public about the impact on jobs and our economy. That’s unacceptable.
“Protecting middle-class jobs should be a top priority for every member of Congress. We simply can’t afford another bad trade deal that further erodes good jobs and exacerbates record income inequality. If the TPP really is different than previous deals like NAFTA that have led to enormous trade deficits and lost jobs, then there should be nothing to fear from a transparent, deliberate and open process. We strongly urge Senators Feinstein and Boxer and every member of Congress in California to reject fast track legislation that keeps the public in the dark on a trade deal that has the potential to undercut our middle class, raise drug prices for seniors, hinder innovation and allow for global corporations and other countries to game the system to America’s disadvantage.”