Trumka Speaks at Anti-TPP Town Hall

CONCORD, N.H.— AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka formally kicked off the labor federation’s campaign to derail the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ”free trade” pact.

Trumka spoke at a federation-organized “Town Hall” Raise The Wages Summit, in the state capital of Concord. It is one of four such forums, all in early primary or caucus states, the fed has put together in the run-up to the start of formal voting for nominees for the Oval Office.

Obama must send the pact and its implementing legislation to Congress, though he can choose when to do so. Thanks to “fast-track” presidential trade authority, lawmakers can’t change the legislation – they don’t vote on the TPP itself – and may consider it, with one up-or-down vote, only after limited debate.

“After six long years, the administration finally released the text of the TPP. To our disappointment but not our surprise, it is a bad deal for workers. It would drive down wages, kill jobs, give corporations special rights, hurt consumers, and jeopardize the public health,” said Trumka.

Earlier this year, workers and their congressional allies came within three votes in the U.S. House of killing fast-track, whose defeat would have blocked the TPP and other such job-losing “free trade” pacts, Trumka explained. Only 28 House Democrats joined the huge majority of Republicans in voting to approve fast-track.

But since fast-track enabled the TPP, Trumka said, “Congress must decide to accept or reject it” – the TPP – “once and for all.”

Otherwise, he warned, there will be more shuttered factories and more U.S. workers out of jobs, as corporations decamp to the other TPP nations, particularly those with no worker rights and low wages, in pursuit of high profits.

“The release of the TPP text confirmed our worst suspicions: This deal would be a disaster for America. So brothers and sisters, we are going to continue to make our voices heard. We are going to fight like hell against the TPP. And when it comes up for a vote, we are going to kill this bad trade deal once and for all,” Trumka stated.

Beating the TPP is just one part of restoring the American Dream – and of the AFL-CIO’s campaign for its Raise the Wages agenda. Other sections include raising the minimum wage, strengthening and restoring the right to organize and comprehensive immigration reform that would bring undocumented workers out of exploitative shadows.

“For too long we’ve worked for the Democratic Party. In this election, we’re making the Democratic Party work for us. Heck, even last week’s Republican debate included a discussion about inequality,” he commented.

Source: PAI