The Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition held a demonstration outside Congressman Jason Altmire’s office yesterday, calling on him to oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. Read the results of their action as per the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
After lobbying from a number of labor activists today, U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire’s office announced the McCandless Democrat will oppose a pending free trade agreement with Colombia.
Organized labor opposes three looming trade deals, including those with Panama and South Korea, saying they move American jobs overseas. Labor leaders have also warned about anti-union violence in Colombia, where some 50 union activists were killed last year and 17 this year. The names of those 17 were read at a noon rally outside Mr. Altmire’s Aliquippa district office.
The protest was successful. The congressman’s office issued a statement to the … union activists in attendance saying “Colombia has a disturbing history of violence against unionists and labor organizers. While the Labor Action Plan is a step forward, we need results in Colombia, not promises for the future.”
Congressman Altmire did the right thing on human rights by opposing the Colombia trade deal. Now he needs to take the next step and speak out against the Korea and Panama Free Trade Agreements. According to the Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition:
After the demonstration, Congressman Altmire’s office approached the crowd with a written statement. United Steelworkers Representative, Bob McAuliffe, read to the crowd, “The Congressman has decided to oppose the Colombia FTA.” The crowd responded by saying, we are one for three!
Another Steelworker explained: “Trade deals during the past decade have caused the U.S. to lose six million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 plants. Multinational companies easily setup operations overseas and export back to the U.S. market. We need a fair trade model. We urge Representative Altmire to oppose all three of these bad trade deals.”