Trans-Pacific Partnership

Pennsylvanians Unite to Save Our Jobs, Health and Environment

Following President Obama’s Push For a Bad Trade Deal

Pennsylvania – The Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition, a statewide non-partisan organization that fights for fair trade, participated in a statewide action from Allentown at Congressman Dent’s office across the state to Congressman Rothfus’s office in Johnstown and Beaver Pennsylvania. Activists of the coalition united to protect our jobs, health and our environment, and demand that Congress does not support President Obama’s promotion to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The President pushed for this trade deal, that is bad for our state and nation, in his January 12 State of the Union Address.

The TPP, a NAFTA-style free trade agreement with eleven Pacific Rim countries, plus the United States, was negotiated for several years in unprecedented secrecy.  The recently released text confirms that it is a threat to American jobs and wages as well as labor, environmental, food safety and financial safeguards while it reduces access to affordable medicine

Pennsylvanians visited Congressional offices and hand delivered a letter of opposition to the TPP signed by over 1500 national, state and local organizations. More deliveries and visits to Congressional members are planned over the next few days to ensure our voices are being heard.

In Allentown, a crowd gathered around an oversized banner displaying their opposition to the TPP. Frank Snyder, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, reflected on the importance of rebuilding the middle class and creating good paying jobs. “The TPP agreement is on track, the wrong track, to become the most harmful trade pact ever. Enough is enough. If we are serious about rebuilding the middle class and creating the millions of good paying jobs we desperately need, we must fundamentally rewrite our trade policies. NO to fast track, and NO to the TPP,” said Snyder.

George Piasecki, United Steelworkers Rapid Response Coordinator spoke on importance of workers’ rights and saving our good paying quality jobs. Environmental activist, Tom Church, PA Sierra Club spoke out against the TPP and the destructive provisions that wrongly empower corporations to attack our safeguards.

In Johnstown, the United Steelworkers District 10 Director, Bob McAuliffe, delivered the letter and hundreds of constituent signatures, with a group of labor activists expressing their concerns for the already devastated steel town. The group spoke to an aide at Representative Rothfus’ and encouraged the Congressman to keep his stance against the TPP. “Tell the Congressman we appreciate his opposition to Fast Track, but we want to ask him to encourage his colleagues to stand against the TPP,” said McAuliffe.

John Jeffers, in Beaver PA, delivered a letter to his Representative, with a real story to tell. Jeffers worked in in the steel industry and lost my job, because the company moved to Canada and from the imports of zinc. He is adamant with working with his Representative on opposing this issue.

The past trade deals have proven to be unfair. Pennsylvania has lost thousands and thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994. Nearly five million jobs have been lost across the country.  The TPP is named “NAFTA on Steroids” because the impact of NAFTA will be minimal to what a deal with 12 countries, with docking mechanisms allowing more countries to join will do to our economy.

Pennsylvanians from the East to West are demanding our Members of Congress vote no on the TPP Trade deal. Their voices are being heard throughout the state, alongside activists throughout the nation, demanding we save our jobs, health and environment.