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Make Trade Fair for American Workers

June 27, 2012
By Richard L. Trumka President, AFL-CIO

We’ve heard it before. Politicians and corporate CEOs promised us “free trade agreements,” like NAFTA, would create jobs and build the U.S. economy. But the reality has been very different from the rhetoric.

Our lopsided trade with China has led to the loss of nearly 2.8 million jobs since 2001—and NAFTA has cost us hundreds of thousands more. And while Wall Street and corporate greed drove our economy into a ditch, Big Business responded by increasing the mass exodus of jobs overseas and sitting on $1 trillion dollars in cash instead of hiring workers in this country.

While working families are coming together to demand our leaders negotiate new trade policies to create and support good jobs in America and rebuild our nation, U.S. trade representatives are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP FTA), which will be the biggest trade agreement in U.S. history.

For far too long, industry lobbyists and their political allies have hijacked trade negotiations to help themselves—to the detriment of working families and communities in this country and abroad.

These devastating trade deals have led to millions of jobs being shipped overseas and even have limited our government’s ability to buy American-made products with our own tax dollars.

Our political leaders can do better on trade to make it fair for everyone, but only if we make sure it happens.

Working families deserve a voice in our democracy—we cannot afford the consequences of another failed trade deal. It’s time trade deals stopped being negotiated for the sole benefit of the 1%—corporate executives and wealthy investors. Instead, let’s call for fair trade deals that protect the rights of all workers—the 99%—and create good jobs here in the United States.

June 27, 2012

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