Momentum against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) increased in late October 2015, as Congressman Denny Heck announced he would vote against the corporate trade pact, calling it one of the most important decisions of his career.
The TPP would set binding rules between 12 countries, governing approximately 40% of the global economy. The massive deal has drawn ire from environmental, labor, faith, and social justice groups for the impacts it would have on food safety, access to affordable medicine, human trafficking, workers around the world, and efforts to address climate change.
“The presidential campaign highlighted deep dissatisfaction with globalization as we’ve managed it,” said Stan Sorscher, President of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. “We are very pleased that Congressman Heck’s decision opens space for a larger discussion of what a true 21st Century trade policy should look like.”
In his statement, Representative Heck explained, “I believe in my policy priorities because I care about people, and analyzing TPP should be a question of how it affects people.”
Recent plant closures in Shelton, in his district, left workers largely on their own when their jobs moved offshore. Should our trade policy, he asked, force us to compete with low-cost manufacturing facilities with no/low safety standards, poverty wages, or child workers, facilities that spew out anything they want into the atmosphere or nearby bodies of water?
“We have an historic opportunity to rethink our approach to globalization,” said Gillian Locascio, Washington Fair Trade Coalition’s Executive Director. “Across Washington State and the world, community groups are building local solutions to the crises of our time. These voices need to be heard.”
Representative Heck’s announcement came after months of lobby visits, petition collection, door-to-door canvasses and other activities designed to educate the Congressman about his constituents’ opposition to the TPP.
Nearby Representative Derek Kilmer is still undecided on the TPP. Urge your Members of Congress to oppose the TPP online here.