January 12, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Washington, DC – Will Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. trade representative, a Wall Street lawyer who has criticized China’s trade practices, make demanding workers’ rights a priority during trade negotiations? “While many of the president-elect’s nominations signal an alarming anti-worker agenda, trade is an area where gains seem possible,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters at the Capitol Jan. 3, joined by several House Democrats.
The nominee, Robert Lighthizer, “has taken a less conventional view of trade, but not necessarily coming from the same progressive position we are in,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said. “But in naming him, Trump said he wanted to fight for trade deals that put American workers first, and so do we.” On the other hand, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said she was “concerned” that Trump’s pick for commerce secretary, billionaire NAFTA supporter Wilbur Ross, could have an “expanded” role in trade talks. Lighthizer’s record has been encouraging, “but we don’t know what his marching orders will be,” Trumka told Bloomberg BNA afterwards. “He will be part of a team, and the marching orders could be to renegotiate this thing, but make it more corporate-friendly and less worker-friendly.” Read more