Strong message of global solidarity from our friend Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO’s trade expert who met with some of our Oregon labor leaders in Portland last month. Please don’t miss the powerful video on the TPP below!
It’s happening right now, behind closed doors, and most people don’t even know about it.
Trade representatives from the United States and nearly a dozen other countries are negotiating the largest free trade agreement in U.S. history—the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. And it could mean corporations gain even more power over everything from the wages you make to how clean your drinking water is to the safety of your kids’ toys.
We’ve put together this video of some of the working people across the world who are speaking out about the TPP and its consequences.
Following President Obama’s meeting with Vietnamese President Troung Tan Sang last week to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), we are calling for TPP negotiations with Vietnam to be suspended until the Vietnamese government demonstrates that it has brought labor and human rights abuses to an end.
It’s no accident that average American families have seen our incomes decline over the last 20 years as politicians from both parties have signed “free trade” agreements that do nothing but trade away family-wage jobs, worker rights and food and consumer safety standards. The U.S. and the world cannot afford more race-to-the-bottom trade pacts that put corporate profits above human beings.
Now politicians are trying to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement, which would freely trade good American jobs and benefits for products produced in countries like Vietnam by workers who are forced to labor in sweatshops under unsafe working conditions.
A recent report by the Worker Rights Consortium entitled, “Made in Vietnam: Labor Rights Violations in Vietnam’s Export Manufacturing Sector,” provides concrete examples of how the Vietnamese government and unscrupulous employers maintain a low-wage regime:
Fair trade activists put the spotlight on secretive international trade negotiations in Vancouver B.C.
Negotiators from 11 Pacific Rim countries met quietly in Vancouver to set new investment rules within the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). No announcement of this “intersessional” on investment was made to the public or the media. People in Canada first learned about this TPP ‘mini’ negotiation from an article in the Peruvian media on Friday June 16th, just days before the weekend negotiations. It was later confirmed by iPolitics.ca with no other details and has since been acknowledged by the federal government in a brief statement concluding the intersessional talks.
“It’s long past time to end the silence on the TPP,” says Kristen Beifus of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. “It’s outrageous that this investor rights treaty is being developed behind closed doors. What they are negotiating will impact all of us, just as NAFTA has for 20 years, and we deserve to know what is being negotiated in our name.”
On May 21st, 2013 State Rep. Brad Witt held an informal hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that he chairs.
This hearing could not have been more timely as thousands across the globe gathered to protest Monsanto’s GMOs. Monsanto is one of the 600 corporations pushing for the TPP; they want to use this free trade agreement as a tool to force genetically modified seeds and foods onto countries regardless of existing laws and regulations.
The Committee heard testimony on the TPP’s impact on food safety standards that affect not only whether Oregon consumers will have to eat products that don’t meet our domestic safety standards, but also whether Oregon producers will have to compete with overseas fish farms, industrial fruit and vegetable operations and others that aren’t bound by the same standards as they are.
By Arthur Stamoulis
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive new trade and investment pact being pushed by the U.S. government at the behest of transnational corporations, threatening the economy, environment and public health both at home and abroad.
The TPP is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — but it is also specifically intended as a “docking agreement” that other Pacific Rim countries will join over time, with Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea and others already expressing some interest in doing so. Negotiations are scheduled to conclude in October 2013. International campaigners are fighting hard to prevent the deal from going through.
The TPP is said to contain 29 separate chapters, covering everything from food safety standards to banking regulations.
Here are some of the many reasons activists are fighting the current direction of the TPP:
Over 400 organizations across the country, representing more than 15 million Americans, signed the letter to Congress expressing deep concerns about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and opposition to the outdated “Fast Track” trade negotiating and approval process. Here in Oregon we got tremendous support from labor with Oregon AFL-CIO, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council, Linn-Benton-Lincoln Central Labor Council, Oregon AFSCME, SEIU 503 and many more locals and community groups that signed on.
The joint letter was submitted to Congress just one business day after the President included Fast Track in his 2013 Trade Policy Agenda, and the same day as negotiators from 11 countries throughout the Pacific Rim met in Singapore for a new round of talks aimed at pushing the TPP towards conclusion.
Fast Track excludes Congress from having a meaningful role in the formative stages of trade agreements by allowing agreements to be signed by the president before Congress votes on them. We need members of Congress to commit to opposing any delegation of Congress’s authority on trade policymaking.
Government Data Shows Oregon Lost 4th Most Jobs in Country by Population; Trans-Pacific Partnership Could Accelerate Job Loss Even Further
Portland, Ore. — An Oregon fair trade advocacy coalition has released a new analysis of U.S. Labor Department data showing that Oregon lost the fourth most jobs to offshoring out of any state in the country in 2012 when measured by population.
“The data clearly shows that, year after year, trade agreements have been bleeding Oregon communities of much-needed jobs. 106 mill workers in St. Helens were just laid off from Boise White Paper” said Greg Pallesen, Vice President of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers. “Rather than stopping the outgoing flow of jobs, this new Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely to open up an artery.”
The newly compiled data released today by the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign shows that the Labor Department certified 1,911 Oregon jobs as destroyed by either direct offshoring or displacement by imports in 2012, which is a 34% increase over 2011 and brings the total number of trade-displaced jobs certified by the Labor Department in the state since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994 up to 55,085. Continue reading
ORFTC brought over a busload of volunteer organizers to the historic Cross-Border Organizing Summit & Rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership taking place along the U.S./Canada border in Blaine, Washington on Saturday, December 1. [Check out photos on our Facebook page.]
The Blaine summit and rally’s organizing partners included the AFL-CIO, Citizens Trade Campaign, Council of Canadians, Sierra Club and over a dozen other regional social justice organizations. ORFTC supplied the piñata.
Among several initiatives launched at the organizing summit was a new North American Unity Statement Opposing NAFTA Expansion through the TPP, and a goal of reaching over 1,000 organizational sign-on’s by early 2013. ORFTC urges groups to add their names to it.
To get updated on next steps in the campaign, please sign up for monthly briefing calls or email email@example.com.
As trade negotiators rush to complete the massive new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, we need your help encouraging our elected officials to stand up and declare an end to business-as-usual trade policy.
Please email Senators Wyden and Merkley now and urge them to cosponsor critical fair trade legislation called The 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act to ensure we aren’t saddled with a new “NAFTA of the Pacific.”
First introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, The 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act reasserts Congressional and public oversight over the TPP and future trade policies. It sets a range of binding negotiating requirements regarding labor rights, the environment, food safety and other provisions that are needed to ensure that the TPP and other pacts actually improve life for ordinary working people in Oregon and throughout the world. Continue reading