USW Leadership Statement Urges Rejection of TPP

Executive Board Resolution applies to U.S. & Canada action

Dec 10, 2015, 15:54 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Executive Board of the United Steelworkers (USW) today adopted a formal resolution urging rejection of the proposed 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal by both the U.S. Congress and the Canadian federal government.

USW President Leo W. Gerard said the resolution is intended for wide distribution to the union membership in both the U.S. and Canada, setting forth the basis of a fully-engaged TPP rejection campaign in each country.

"The USW is the largest industrial union in North America representing 1.2 million active and retired members who would all be impacted by TPP," Gerard said. "These workers with family-supportive jobs are employed in virtually every tradable sector: mining, metals, glass, rubber, paper and forestry, automotive and aerospace products."

Upon release of the USW policy statement, he said it exposes the TPP as bad trade policy with no real enforcement, misplaced priorities and that working families had already suffered far too long from previous free trade deals.

The USW resolution highlighted the union had an earnest expectation workers' needs in any trade deal would be met. "When negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership began, our union engaged with the negotiators and policymakers with the hope of forging a new approach."

The statement said the USW sought a trade agreement for the U.S. and Canada "that would lift wages up, rather than pushing them down, one that would reduce our nations' accumulated trade deficits that continue to mount, one that would promote domestic manufacturing and employment rather than more outsourcing and offshoring, one that would begin to reverse the widening gap of income inequality."

Citing in detail issues ignored that hurt American and Canadian workers, the USW resolution found the TPP didn't address currency manipulation, accepted overcapacity in global manufacturing, had insufficient rules for State-Owned Enterprises, provided weak rules of origin for autos and auto parts, plus showed a failure to ensure worker rights standards are implemented.

"The TPP fails to meet the promise that it would be a high-standards, 21st century trade agreement in the area of workers' rights, representing not only a missed opportunity, but also limiting the ability of workers to share in the very prosperity that they will be working so hard to create for multinational firms through their labor."  

It added, "TPP countries would be required to adopt and maintain laws to provide for a minimum wage, but that wage may be only pennies an hour to be acceptable under the TPP."

Saying the USW provided comprehensive proposals during the TPP negotiations about how to improve the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of U.S. trade laws, the resolution declared: "The negotiators agreed to TPP trade rules that are far from sufficient, leaving the USW with little confidence that even those rules will be enforced."

The resolution concluded:

"The TPP will only continue the failed trade policies of the past that have valued corporate profits, wherever obtained, over the interests of job and opportunity creation here at home. The USW will put every effort into defeating the TPP."

The USW International Executive Board resolution rejecting the TPP can be viewed: (HERE).

A detailed report by the statutorily-created U.S. Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) on the TPP that Gerard served on was also publicly released Dec. 4 by the 19-named representatives of working Americans. Among the LAC signatories were: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, UAW President Dennis Williams, Machinists President R. Thomas Buffenbarger and James Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters.

The TPP countries are: United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

An op-ed by Gerard, Hoffa and Williams critical of the TPP following release of the LAC report was published in the Huffington Post as: It's Time to Take a Stand for Workers on TPP.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

CONTACTS:
Gary Hubbard: (202) 256-8125
ghubbard@usw.org

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)



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