USW: Fast-Track Trade Authority Outdated Policy in Need of Reform

Jul 31, 2013, 14:07 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

PITTSBURGH, July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) released the following statement today from USW International President Leo W. Gerard in response to President Obama's request for new fast-track trade authority, and Sen. Orrin Hatch's call for limited Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA):

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"Unfortunately, the President and Congress appear poised to renew the outdated, failed trade policies of the past by discussing the provision of fast-track trade negotiating authority without vital updates and reforms. Why would we want to adopt the old model when it has so clearly resulted in rising trade deficits, rising unemployment, rising income inequality and rising misfortune for so many? As we seek to restore long-term growth in our economy, the last thing we should do is undermine our prospects with outdated trade policies.

"Sen. Hatch seems to think that Trade Adjustment Assistance is a 'gift' to labor that will mute our opposition to fast track. He should talk to the companies and workers in his state who filed dozens of requests for, and received, TAA benefits over the last years as to whether they see the program as a gift. Most of them likely would question whether, after getting kicked in the teeth by international trade, the provision of an economic Band-Aid is a gift or something they are due because of failed government policies which cost them their jobs.

"America's competitiveness has been undermined by a lack of investment in skills, training, infrastructure, technology and manufacturing. Our ability to access new markets has been thwarted by foreign unfair trade practices such as currency manipulation, subsidies and predatory policies of state-owned enterprises. Providing the tools our workers and companies need to compete and addressing the harm done by unfair trade are not gifts; they're simple common sense."

The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. It is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil, health care, security, hotels, municipal governments and agencies.

CONTACT: R.J. Hufnagel,
(412) 562-2450,

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)