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Future of TPP Trade Agreement in doubt because of Mexico

10.11.15

AUGUST 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Future of TPP Trade Agreement in doubt because of Mexico

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 1st- Weeks after the Obama Administration got the authority from the United States Congress to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPPTA), the deal is being held-up by former trade deals while several counties are trying to protect their own interest including Mexico.

Despite intense lobbying by the labor community against the passage of the TPPTA, a measure meant to ease trade restrictions with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, and Canada, the United States Senate passed the legislation in early summer allowing Democratic President Barack Obama to negotiate global trade deals that the United States Congress can only approve or reject but not change. The legislation had already passed the House of Representatives with the support of most Republicans and twenty-eight Democrats.

The legislation was opposed fiercely by the labor community which is being called “fast track” but was passed by the full Senate on June 25th, 60 to 38. Most of the Senate Democrats voted against the measure including Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey Jr. Pennsylvania’s other Senator Republican Pat Toomey voted in favor of the legislation that President Obama supported and signed into law.

President Barack Obama made the passage of TPPTA a major part of his agenda during his final two years in office.

The pact needed the approval by both chambers of Congress because it is considered to be a treaty.

The labor community has made it clear it opposed the trade agreement and implemented a new tactic is fighting against it. Many of the labor organizations that are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) had froze campaign contributions to members of Congress to pressure them from supporting the trade deal. The legislation passed anyway with the help of some Democrats and shows how organized labor can no longer can by itself stop anti-union legislation from passing or getting pro-union legislation through Washington.

To get the trade-authority legislation through, Senate Republicans advanced a bill that continued the worker-aid program called the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program has been used to help workers that lost their jobs because by foreign trade. TAA helps re-train workers for other jobs that have suffered from production being shift overseas to competition from imports. In the past many garment workers, electronic manufacturer workers, and steel makers received TAA. The worker-aid program must first be requested by an employer or union before any worker can receive help in re-training which includes federal funded higher education programs.

However, during trade-talks held in Hawaii several issues have emerged that has so-far delayed the deal from being completed and some involved have stated could “derail” the trade.

Mexico wants the provision to continue under the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which requires three-fifths of content of cars originating in North America before the automobiles could cross borders duty free. Japan wants automakers to be able to source a greater proportion of parts needed for production to be made outside of North America. Mexico, which is becoming a world automotive manufacturing leader, is fighting to keep the NAFTA rule in place, which could derail the TPPTA deal. Mexican negotiators have made in clear that their economy depends on the NAFTA provision.

Trade deal passes Congress and signed into law despite labor’s opposition

10.11.15

JULY 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Trade deal passes Congress and signed into law despite labor’s opposition

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 25th- Despite intense lobbying by the labor community against the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPPTA), a measure meant to ease trade restrictions with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, and Canada, the United States Senate passed the legislation that will allow Democratic President Barack Obama to negotiate global trade deals that the United States Congress can only approve or reject but not change. The legislation had already passed the House of Representatives with the support of most Republicans and twenty-eight Democrats.

The legislation was opposed fiercely by the labor community which is being called “fast track” but was passed by the full Senate on June 25th 60 to 38. Most of the Senate Democrats voted against the measure including Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey Jr. Pennsylvania’s other Senator Republican Pat Toomey voted in favor of the legislation that President Obama supported and signed into law.

Mr. Casey, a member of the Committee on Finance, stated he was active in reviewing TPP, and had serious concerns about the deal. He had concerns about the potential impact the trade agreement would have on American workers, producers and innovators.

President Barack Obama made the passage of TPPTA a major part of his agenda during his final two years in office.

Senator Toomey stated he spoke with Secretaries of Treasury, Agriculture, and Commerce as well as the U.S. Trade Ambassador and all believe approving the deal will benefit Pennsylvania and the nation.

He said the opening of markets to Pennsylvania-made products will create more high-paying export-oriented jobs in the state and it will be a big help for Pennsylvania farmers.

The pact needed the approval by both chambers of Congress because it is considered to be a treaty.

The labor community has made it clear it opposed the trade agreement and implemented a new tactic is fighting against it.

Many of the labor organizations that are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) had froze campaign contributions to members of Congress to pressure them from supporting the trade deal. The legislation passed anyway with the help of some Democrats and shows how organized labor can no longer can by itself stop anti-union legislation from passing or getting pro-union legislation through Washington.

One the most vocal labor leaders against the pact was United Steelworkers Union (USW) International President Leo Gerard. The USW represent rubber workers that manufacturer American made tires that have been hurt by cheap Pacific countries manufactured tires.

Mr. Gerard after Prime Minister Shinzo of Japan spoke to a joint session of Congress several weeks ago about why the United States should pass the trade deal, stated Japan supports the deal because of the continued lopsided trade benefits it enjoys.

To get the trade-authority legislation through, Senate Republicans said they would advance a bill that would continue the worker-aid program called the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

The Trade Adjustment Assistance program has been used to help workers that lost their jobs because by foreign trade. TAA helps re-train workers for other jobs that have suffered from production being shift overseas to competition from imports. In the past many garment workers, electronic manufacturer workers, and steel makers received TAA. The worker-aid program must first be requested by an employer or union before any worker can receive help in re-training which includes federal funded higher education programs.

The federal government then investigates the requests and determines if workers jobs were lost because of foreign trade or imports. The program was to expire in September 2015.

Labor community grateful for President Obama’s support

10.11.15

JUNE 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Labor community grateful for President Obama’s support

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 31st- While most within the labor community in the nation disagree with President Barack Obama’s support for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPPTA), a measure meant to ease trade restrictions Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunie, Singapore, and Canada, they are grateful for support of the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rules regarding representation election that took effect on April 14th.

Businesses throughout the nation have made it clear they are worried about the new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that will expedite representation elections through the agency.In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported that the labor community applauded President Barack Obama’s veto of a Republican led resolution that would have overturned the NLRB rule that will expedite representation elections.

Mr. Obama’s veto was seen as a victory for the labor community, and the Democrats in the United States Congress. The resolution to overturn the new rules was passed by both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate in March. The anti-union legislation was supported and passed by mainly members of the Republican party.

The new rules, which was created by the five-member NLRB in Washington DC in December, is intended to streamline NLRB conducted Representation Elections. The labor community has complained for years that the current process favors companies, mainly larger employers, that have used the procedures of the old system to often delay, sometimes for months or years, of having the election conducted by the NLRB, which oversees the election. The tactic often is used to stall NLRB elections, especially when it appears the union would likely win.

Republicans were unable to override President Obama’s veto because there were not enough Senate Republicans in the chamber. There are 54 Republican seats in the Senate and under the chamber rules 67 is needed to override a presidential veto.

Under NLRB rules, at least 30 percent of a unit of workers must request the agency conduct an election. In the election at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible to participate employees must vote to be represented by a labor organization to become their bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Mr. Obama has made it clear he will sign TPPTA into law should if reach his desk. The legislation successful passed the Senate however, it is not yet known if the trade agreement will get enough votes for passage in the House of Representatives. There are 435 members of the House and the legislation will need to gain a majority of the representatives votes to successfully pass the chamber. It is expected the House will vote on TPPTA later in June, likely just before congress recesses for the summer.

Under the new NLRB election rules, employers will be required to post an “NLRB Notice of Election,” which contains information about the representation petition that was filed, and advises the two parties their rights and obligations. A “Statement of Position” form will need to be submitted by the employer to the NLRB within seven days after the petition receipt.

The document must include a list of eligible voters, their job classifications, their shift schedules, and work locations. However, the employer can not present any opinion or evidence on the issue of the representation election or request a delay in the vote. Employers can no longer challenge voter eligibility before the election, often used to delay elections, and must wait for the post-election hearing. Also, pre-election hearings will be limited to ‘Statement of Position’ the employer submitted not questioning the election merit.

Labor opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

05.25.15

MAY 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Labor opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- May 5th- The success of passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPPTA), a measure meant to ease trade restrictions with Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, and Canada, is still unknown in the United States House of Representatives. The measure is being called “fast track” and few Democrats in the House of Representatives are supporting it.

President Barack Obama supports passage of the trade deal and his administration negotiated the pact often without congress involvement.

Meanwhile, while the trade deal is being debated, a new report by the United States Commerence Department in Washington indicated that the nation’s trade deficit reached its highest level in more than six years. The government reported that imported goods increased by 7.7 percent in March from February to $239.2 billion with the trade deficit rising by $51.4 billion.

The labor community has made it clear it opposes the trade agreement and has implemented a new tactic is fighting against it.

Many of the labor organizations that are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) the largest labor federation in North America, has froze campaign contributions to members of Congress to preasure them from supporting the trade deal. And it indicates it may be working.

For TPPTA to pass the House of Representatives political insiders have stated that at least 32 Democrats are needed to vote in favor of it. However, currently only around 16 have indicated they would. Around 60 House Republicans, mostly tea-party members, have indicated they also do not support the deal.

With most Democrats opposing TPPTA and if in fact 60 Republicans vote against the pact, Mr. Obama and deal supporters will likely fall short of enough votes needed for passage.

Meanwhile, one the most vocal labor leaders against the pact is United Steelworkers Union (USW) International President Leo Gerard. The USW represent rubber workers that manufacturer American made tires that have been hurt by cheap Pacific countries manufactured tires.

Mr. Gerard after Prime Misister Shinzo of Japan spoke to a joint session of Congress several weeks ago about why the United States should pass the trade deal, stated Japan supports the deal because of the continued lopsided trade benefits it enjoys.

TPP Trickery

01.22.15

TPP Trickery

So-called “free trade” deals have a long history associated with the tricky ways they have been sold to the American public. The very term “free trade” itself is word trickery. They are not really free at all.

First of all, they have a cost in terms of American jobs, damage to our environment, undermining our democratic form of government, income inequality effects and much more. Secondly, they still manage trade but in a very complex and opaque way. They tend to very, very long complicated agreements. They manage trade often in ways that reward certain corporation and punish others.

If they really were designed to benefit the general public in the nations involved, they would be publicly negotiated with full input from all the stakeholders to the agreement. This means labor leaders, consumer advocates, small businesspersons, family farmers, food safety advocates, health care experts, environmentalists and average taxpayers would be fully involved from the beginning of the processes in every such trade deal. They are not! Only government officials (mostly from Wall Street) and representatives of large international corporations are involved in drafting these so-called “free trade” deals.

The American people have been promised huge benefits from every deal passed for decades. None of those deals produced the promised benefits in terms of jobs or impacts on our trade deficits. Environmental and labor protection provisions promised were largely ignored in reality. Our manufacturing base and our middle class has been devastated by those so-called Free trade” deals.

Decades of broken so-called “free trade” deals leaves the American public highly distrustful of even more deals with non-specific lofty promises. Where are the specific terms in advance of our support of a fast track process?

The way they are negotiated and passed are inherently dishonest. These deals are really treaties between national governments but are never passed by congress on that legal basis. Treaties are required to be passed by votes much larger than simple one vote majorities. Because these deals are not supported by large majorities of the American public, they are not called treaties when presented to Congress for passage. If the treaties were in reality highly beneficial to most Americans, they would command massive public support and could be passed into law as treaties.

The TPP is no exception to the above general statements on so-called “free trade” deals. In fact, it is much worse. The very name Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is kind of dishonest. Real partnerships are not formed in secret. They are not negotiated in secret from the parties involved. This one has been done so. The citizens of the nations involved are the real parties involved. The government officials are only acting as our agents. As our agents, they should be telling us everything about this proposed deal as the negotiations proceed. Instead, the process has been secret.

This writer calls the TPP by a more honest name. It is in reality the Trans Pacific Pact and has nothing to do with a partnership of the citizenry of the nations involved. Secret negotiators from the corporate world cannot enter me into a partnership agreement that I do not know the terms of and that I cannot through my elected representatives modify the terms.

This TPP pact is falsely named and completely anti-democratic from top to bottom. We cannot let it be fast-tracked into passage. The fast track process means we have no say through our elected representatives in Congress to modify the secret terms negotiated. We cannot even fully know what those terms are in advance of granting fast track authorization.

Nobody in their right mind would agree to this kind of business contact in their personal finances. Why is it acceptable in our government? The answer is that it is not acceptable. These so-called “free trade” deals are contracts that bind us as American citizens to bear the costs in terms of jobs, and in the case of the TPP, as taxpayers from lawsuits by international corporations. The TPP will primarily benefit international corporations and the global financial elite at our expense.

As a nation, we need a full say in the passage or rejection of the TPP through our democratic election process in the 2016 elections after the complete text of the deal has been made public.

Written by Stephen Crockett :

(Stephen Crockett is the founder & former Host of Democratic Talk Radio www.DemocraticTalkRadio, a small business owner, College Marketing. com www.CollegeMarketing.com, and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor. com www.midatlanticlabor.com. He can be reached by email at demlabor@aol.com.)

Voters not Congress should decide TPP trade pact

01.11.15

Voters not Congress should decide TPP trade pact

We need to slow the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval process down until after the 2016 elections. After the final full terms are made public, the voters should decide this issue using our democratic electoral processes. We need this to be a campaign issue in the Senate, House and Presidential elections. It will increase voter turnout (which is good for American democracy) and give the decision real legitimacy.

There are many stakeholders in this deal. Large international corporations, domestic corporations, small businesses, American workers, farmers, consumers, citizens who care about the environment, those with intellectual property, citizens concerned with food safety, those concerned with preserving control of our economy as expressed via our democratic elections, taxpayers and many more elements of our society are stakeholders. Most of these stakeholders have been largely left out of the secretive process of drafting the TPP trade pact.

It seems that large international corporations were the only stakeholders who had a major role in the drafting the trade deal. There is no way that fast tracking approval of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) should be under serious consideration. Fast tracking this trade deal is being pushed by those who are politically under the control of large corporate interests.

Regardless of which political party controls the US House of Representatives, the Senate or the White House, they should defer to the will of the American people on an issue as important as the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) because the deal impacts the role of our democratically controlled government in our economy and many other parts of our economic future. The TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) is widely seen as a massive international power grab based on the leaks pushed in the press from these secretive negotiations.

Few Americans have a deep understanding of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) terms. This includes most members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Our corporate controlled press has not given the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) the kind of serious, extensive reporting that previous trade deals like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) received. The public has not been effectively informed on the terms of the deal. There has not been enough time for stakeholders to examine the potential impacts of the terms on the American nation.

American democracy has not been served. American democracy has been ignored. Obviously, the will of the American people should have the final say on the fate of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact).
We need a long, vigorous public debate and a full election cycle in 2016 fought in part on this issue so the American people can be heard before TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval decision by a newly elected Congress and President.

Written by Stephen Crockett -

(Stephen Crockett is the founder & former Host of Democratic Talk Radio www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com, a small business owner, College Marketing.com www.CollegeMarketing.com, and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com www.midatlanticlabor.com. He can be reached by email at demlabor@aol.com.)

Related articles:

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster (by Robert Reich)
www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-the-transpacific-part_b_6422088.html

Bernie Sanders’ Brutal Letter On Obama’s Trade Pact Foreshadows 2016 Democratic Clash (by Zach Carter)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/05/bernie-sanders-michael-froman-tpp_n_6419874.html

Democrats Slam Obama Over Secretive Trade Deals, Say He Needs Economics ‘Refresher’ (by Dana Liebelson and Jennifer Bendery)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/08/trade-deal_n_6438288.html

Mitch McConnell Pledges Fast Action For Secretive Trade Deals (by Michael McAuliff)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/mcconnell-fast-track_n_6432118.html

Will Fast-Track/TPP Warnings Reach The Public? It’s Up To You.
(by Dave Johnson)
ourfuture.org/20150107/will-fast-tracktpp-warnings-reach-the-public-its-up-to-you

Obama’s Covert Trade Deal (by Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy)
www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/obamas-covert-trade-deal.html?_r=0

Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda (by Julie Hirschfeld Davis)
www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/business/democrats-step-up-efforts-to-block-obama-on-trade-promotion-authority.html

Bernie Sanders Slams The Trans-Pacific Partnership As A Disaster For Workers (by Jason Easley)
www.politicususa.com/2014/12/29/bernie-sanders-trans-pacific-partnership-disaster-workers.html

Tell Congress to Vote NO on TPP and Fast Track Authority for Trade Deals (Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund)
www.farmtoconsumer.org/news_wp/?p=17355

National Survey on Fast-Track Authority for TPP Trade Pact
fasttrackpoll.info/docs/Fast-Track-Survey_Memo.pdf

Painters planning picket if not hired for U of S project

09.22.14

SEPTEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Painters planning picket if not hired for U of S project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- It is getting more likely each day that members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 in Drums, which represents unionized painters and drywall workers employed within the construction industry throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, will be picketing along side a ten foot high inflatable rat in front of the new building being built by the University of Scranton. As of press-time, September 6th, IUPAT members have not yet been hired for the University of Scranton $47 million eight-story rehabiliation building on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton.

The union picketed the Adlin Building renovation construction that is located across the alley from the new building. The rehabilitation center under construction is where the former Scranton YWCA was located.

The university hired some nonunion workers for renovations that were done on the upper floors of the Adlin Building, which houses several businesses on the ground floor.

Members of IUPAT Local 218, which is affiliated with District Council 21, protested in May because they were not hired for the renovations of the Adlin Building.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, told the newspaper that a IUPAT signatory contractor has not yet been hired for the painting within the rehabiliation center and if they are not hired for the project, the University of Scranton can count on his members picketing the project along-side the inflatable rate.

“There is still time. We would not be inside the building for several more months,” stated Mr. Gatto.

Will Conservatives Support American Companies… Or Chinese Companies?

05.19.12

Will Conservatives Support American Companies… Or Chinese Companies?

by Dave Johnson

Which is better for an economy: millions of future jobs and trillions of future dollars, or a few people making a quick buck today by selling out their country? For decades America’s 1 percent-backed conservatives have chosen the latter course, and we can see the results all around us. Now the Obama administration has imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese solar panels because China was “dumping” — selling below cost — to drive American manufacturers out of business. Will conservatives support their country and our companies or will they continue to side with our country’s competitors?

U.S. Imposes Stiff Tariffs

The Commerce Department yesterday concluded that Chinese solar panel companies are “dumping” product — selling below the cost of production — into the U.S. market, and imposed stiff tariffs. According to the New York Times’ “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels”:

The United States on Thursday announced the imposition of antidumping tariffs of more than 31 percent on solar panels from China.

… The antidumping decision is among the biggest in American history, covering one of the largest and fastest-growing categories of imports from China, the world’s largest exporter.

Industry of the Future

Again and again technology revolutions come along and disrupt economies. Countries that jump on new technologies are the countries that win the industries and jobs and revenue. This is how the United States became the world power that it is was. Railroads, steel, automobiles, airplanes, electronics, semiconductors, computers, the Internet, pharmaceuticals, biotech and software are a few examples. And in every case our government helped these new industries get off the ground. When these industries took root the payoff was enormous.

Green energy is one such technology of the future. Producing solar panels, wind turbines, etc. will bring millions and millions of jobs and trillions of dollars, and several countries are competing to win a share of this new industry.

China is fighting hard for those jobs and dollars. They are being smart, and they are also pushing past the limits of the rules. From the New York Times story:

Alan Price, a partner who heads the international trade practice at Wiley Rein, the law firm representing the United States companies in both the solar and wind cases, said that China posed a particular threat to America’s developing green energy sector.

“China’s method is straightforward: it sets forth industry-specific Five-Year Plans and then uses all forms of national and local subsidies and other governmental support to quickly transfer jobs, supply chains, intellectual property and wealth, to the permanent detriment of U.S. and global manufacturers,” he said. “China’s ability to ramp up and overwhelm an industry is unique and particularly devastating with new and emerging technologies, where global competitors may be less established and can be knocked out more easily and quickly.”

To compete for a share of this new industry we need to be proactive. We need national efforts to develop the industrial commons, or ecosystem, that will foster green-tech industries. We also need government policies that promote a market for these products until they take hold, just as our defense industry did for aircraft and other new technologies. And we need to enforce the rules for international economic competition, which is what has happened with the tariff decision.

Decision Not Political

The New York Times story points out that this was not a political decision by the Obama administration,

The American decision was made by civil servants in a quasi-judicial process that is heavily insulated by law from political interference and does not represent a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to confront China on trade policy. But that distinction has been largely lost in China, where the solar panel issue has been one of many causes embraced online by the country’s vociferous ultranationalists, who put heavy pressure on Chinese officials to respond forcefully to perceived snubs to China.

The rules say that if a country is dumping, then we must impost tariffs. The Commerce Department investigated and concluded that China has been dumping so they had no choice. If we do not enforce trade rules, they are meaningless and countries that cheat gain an advantage, driving out the honest players. That is how cheating, accountability and enforcement work. (Hint: this also applies to banking fraud laws.)

In the case of solar-panel tariffs, we were losing companies and jobs and facing losing the possibility of losing the entire industry to China. From “Tariffs On Chinese Solar Might Help Prevent The Next Solyndra”:

You have probably heard about a solar-energy company named Solyndra, but probably what you have heard is a bunch of negative, conspiratorial, anti-alternative-energy, anti-Obama stuff from the corporate/conservative spin machine. The real story is that our government is trying to help us capture some of the new green energy industry that will create the jobs of the future. But China is, too. And China doubled down, and then quadrupled down on government support. They even directly subsidize their companies so their products cost less. This helped put Solyndra out of business. But the Obama administration is doing something about it.

China cheats, and we don’t usually do anything about it. They let companies pollute, don’t do much about worker safety, pay low wages, and make people work long hours. So-called “free trade” lets companies cost us more than 50,000 factories in the Bush years, and millions of jobs. And it empowers companies here to tell their workers to shut up and behave and accept wage and benefit cuts, or they’ll send their jobs to China, too. We continue to just let China take jobs, factories and industries because powerful interests, like Wall Street, make tons of money off of it.

So the decision is made, our country is engaging in the economic war that has been underway against us. Will our country’s conservatives take our country’s side?

Solyndra, Chevy Volt And The Anti-Green Propaganda Campaign

Oil-backed conservatives have been waging a campaign to discredit green energy, trying to stop government efforts to move us away from dependence on oil and coal. (Please click the links.)

They have used the failure of solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra — partly due to Chinese dumping — to paint green tech in general as a bad investment. They have even tried to turn the public against the Chevy Volt, claiming that it “ran out of juice in the Lincoln Tunnel” when it actually just kicked over to the gas-engine charger, and that the car is “flammable” because on test battery got too hot — as compared to cars that run on gasoline! (Gasoline car-fire data at the link.)

These anti-dumping tariffs change the dynamics of this oil-backed anti-green campaign. Now when conservatives slam Solyndra or the Chevy Volt and otherwise join in this anti-green-energy campaign they are taking China’s side against American companies at a time when the country is engaged in economic conflict. This presents a tough choice to the conservative movement: Do they continue to accept oil and coal company funding and side against their country and support China, or will they return to their pro-American roots and side with their country in a time of conflict?

Installers Hit Hard?

Low prices from trade-cheaters are always attractive. But if we want a slice of the jobs, factories, industries and economy of the future we have to fight back when our competitors cheat.

The solar-installer industry is worried they will be hit hard by this because prices for solar panels could increase sharply. According to BusinessWeek’s “U.S. Solar Tariffs on Chinese Cells May Boost Prices”:

The tariffs “will increase solar electricity prices in the U.S. precisely at the moment solar power is becoming competitive with fossil fuel generated electricity,” Shah said in a statement. “This new artificial tax will undermine the success of the U.S. solar industry.”

[…] The U.S. decision to impose import duties on Chinese solar panels will raise their price to $1.11 per watt, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based researcher owned by Bloomberg LP. That price is 17 percent higher than the current spot price of non-Chinese panels.

Forbes’s article “Solar Installers Caught In Cross Fire Of Escalating China Trade War” states:

On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a preliminary decision levying steep tariffs against Chinese solar manufacturers, finding they illegally dumped cheap photovoltaic cells on the American market. But the companies that install those solar panels on residential and commercial rooftops — and which have benefited from a 75 percent plunge in photovoltaic prices in recent years — are split over the impact of the tariffs on their burgeoning business.

The government could remedy the impact on domestic customers and installers several ways, including:
•by using the new tariffs to fund tax credits and other incentives that help homeowners and businesses make the move to solar power,

•by imposing a large “carbon tax” that is refunded on a per-capita basis. This would mean high users of carbon-based fuels would pay in, the revenue is divided up evenly to everyone over 21 and paid out with a monthly check, and people could use this money to both cover their own added energy expenses and to purchase solar and other alternative energy products to lower their carbon-energy footprint,

•and by setting a national renewable energy standard, requiring power producers to use a certain percentage of solar, wind and other alternatives, creating more of a market for green tech.

Oil And Coal And “Buggy-Whip” Technologies

Of course the oil and coal companies will continue to fight this shift from their “buggy-whip” technology, and will use their tremendous influence over our government to try to hold off the inevitable. But the tide is shifting. The fact that China is fighting so hard and putting so much investment into this sector shows its value to the world economy in the future. The fact that our government is responding shows that we have a chance to win a share of the jobs and revenue that green tech promises to bring.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Labor Pains: A Fable for Our Times

02.10.12

by Walter Brasch

Once, many years ago, in a land far away between two oceans, with fruited plains, amber waves of grain, and potholes on its highways, there lived a young man named Sam.

Now, Sam was a bright young man who wanted to work and save money so he could go to school and become an electrician. But the only job open in his small community was at the gas station. So, for two years, Sam pumped gas, washed windshields, checked dipsticks and tire pressure, smiled and chatted with all the customers, gave them free drinking glasses when they ordered a fill-up, and was soon known as the best service station attendant in town.

But then the Grand Caliphs of Oil said that Megamania Oil Empire, of which they all had partial ownership, caused them to raise the price of gas.
“We’re paying 39 cents a gallon now,” they cried, “how can you justify tripling our costs?” they demanded.

“That’s business,” said the Chief Grand Caliph flippantly. But, to calm the customer fury, he had a plan. “We will allow you the privilege of pumping your own gas, washing your own windows, checking your car’s dipsticks and tire pressure, and chatting amiably with yourselves,” said the Caliph. “If you do that, we will hold the price to only a buck or two a gallon.”

And the people were happy. All except Sam, of course, who was unemployed.
But, times were good, and Sam went to the local supermarket, which was advertising for a minimum wage checkout clerk. For three years, he worked hard, scanning all groceries and chatting amiably with the customers. And then one day his manager called him into the office.

“Sam,” said the boss, “we’re very pleased with your work. You’re fired.” From corporate headquarters had come a decision by the chain’s chief bean counter that there weren’t enough beans for their executives to go to Europe to search for more beans.

“But,” asked Sam, “Who will scan the groceries?”

“The customers will,” said the boss. “We’ll even have a no-hassle machine that will take their money and maybe even give change.”

“But won’t they object to buying the groceries, scanning them, bagging them, and shoving their money into a faceless machine?”

“Not if we tell them that by doing all the work, the cost will be less,” said the manager.

“But it won’t,” said Sam.

The manager thought a moment, and then brightly pointed out, “We’ll just say that the cost of groceries won’t go up significantly if labor costs were less. Besides, we even programmed Canmella the Circuit-enhanced Clerk to tell customers to have a nice day.”

Now, others may have sworn, cried, or punched out their supervisor, but this is a G-rated fairy tale, and it wouldn’t be right to leave Sam to flounder among the food. By cutting back on luxuries, like food and clothes, Sam saved a few dollars from his unemployment checks, and finally had enough to go to a community college to learn to become an electrician. After graduating at the top of his class, an emaciated and homeless Sam got a job at Acme Industries.

For nine years, he was a great electrician, often making suggestions that led to his company becoming one of the largest electrical supplies manufacturers in the country. And then one day one of the company’s 18 assistant vice-presidents called Sam into a small dingy office, which the company used for such a day. “You’re the best worker we have,” the AVP joyfully told Sam, “but all that repetitive stress has cut your efficiency and increased our medical costs. In the interest of maximizing profits, we have to replace you.”

“But who can do my job?” asked Sam.

“Not who,” said the manager, “but what. We’re bringing in robots. They’re faster and don’t need breaks, vacations, or sick days. Better yet, they don’t have union contracts.”

“So you are firing me,” said Sam.

“Not at all. We had to let a few dozen other workers go so there would be room for the robots, and we won’t be hiring any new workers, but because of your hard work, we’re reassigning you to oil the robots. At least until we design robots that can oil the other robots.”

For three years, Sam oiled, polished, and cleaned up after the robots. Sometimes, he even had to rewire them. And then the deputy assistant senior director of Human Resources called him into her office.

“No one can oil and polish as well as you can,” she said, but the robots are getting very expensive and we still have several hundred workers who are taking lobster and truffles from the mouths of our corporate executives, “so we’re sending all of our work to somewhere in Asia. Or maybe it’s Mexico. Whatever. The workers there will gladly design and assemble our products for less than a tenth what we have to pay our citizens.”

“You mean I’m fired?!” said a rather incredulous Sam.

“Not fired. That’s so pre-NAFTA. You’ve been downsized.”

“Downsized?!”

“If you want, we can also say you’ve been outsourced. How about right-sized. That’s a nicer word. Would you prefer to be right-sized?”

By now, Sam was no longer meek. He no longer was willing to accept whatever he was told.

“The work will be shoddier,” said Sam. “There will be problems.”

“Of course there will be,” said the lady from HR. “That’s why we hired three Pakistani goat herders to solve customer complaints.”

“Our citizens won’t stand for this,” said a defiant Sam.

“As long as the product is cheaper, our people will gladly go to large non-union stores and buy whatever it is that we tell them to buy.”

And she was right.

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and former university professor. His latest book is the pro-labor mystery novel, Before the First Snow, available at amazon and other book dealers.]

During 2012 political season the labor community will be active

12.29.11

NOVEMBER 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

During 2012 political season the labor community will be active

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, November 10th- The labor community will be active during 2012 in what promises to be an interesting political year.

Democratic United States Senator from Pennsylvania Robert Casey Jr., a Scranton native, will definitively face a Republican opponent, with at least nine Republican’s so-far declaring their candidacy for the opportunity to challenge Mr. Casey’s re-election bid.

Five years ago Mr. Casey defeated Incumbent Republican right-wing Senator Rick Santorum, who is currently running for President of the United States. Senator terms are for six years.

In 2010 conservative Republican Pat Toomey defeated Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak for the other Pennsylvania Senatorial seat. Mr. Toomey is a Lehigh Valley resident and formerly represented the region in the United States House of Representatives.

Mr. Casey is one of ten Democratic Senators that are on the “endangered list” for re-election in 2012 according to Newsweek magazine.

Senator Casey has supported legislation important to the labor community in his first term in Washington, including voting to increase the federal minimum wage, voted for passage of the failed attempt of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct)Card Check legislation, voted in favor of extending unemployment benefits, and voted against the pending trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. The Obama administration supports the trade agreements, which will likely cost American jobs.

Mr. Casey stated Pennsylvania has lost 300,000 jobs since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented in 1993 despite the projected new jobs increases. NAFTA was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton and was passed by the Democratic controlled House of Representatives.

On October 12th in rapid succession, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the trade pacts, which will lower or eliminate trade tarriffs.

The trade agreements were supported by many Democratic legislators that have in the past, received labor support and have promised to support “pro-labor” legislation.

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent (Republican-15th Legislative District) voted for passage of the trade agreements.

NAFTA was recently criticized by three leaders of Mexico’s independent labor union’s. The labor leaders stated that Mexican workers lives have not improved because of NAFTA, and in fact the livelihoods of Mexican workers have seen an increase in violent acts against unions because taxpayers dollars are being used to bust unions in Mexico.

President Barack Obama will attempt to gain a second four-year term in 2012.

Mr. Obama has failed to deliver during his first term on much of the proposed labor legislation that was discussed during the 2008 political campaign.

Recently the labor community opposed the three free trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama that Mr. Obama supported. Also, the EFCAct/Card Check legislation was never even voted on in the Democratic controlled United States Senate in 2009.

Despite the failure of the Obama Administation to pass “pro-labor” legislation and his support for the free trade agreements, the labor community will likely support his re-election bid, mainly because the Republican party is currently extremely anti-union

Anti-American worker trade agreements passed in Washington

11.15.11

NOVEMBER 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Anti-American worker trade agreements passed in Washington

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, On October 12th the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama despite the opposition of labor unions and the failure of past agreements to create jobs as promised.

In rapid succession the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate passed the trade pacts, and President Barack Obama supported the passage of the legislation, which will lower or eliminate tarriffs.

The trade agreements were supported by many Democratic legislators that have in the past received labor support and have promised to support “pro-labor” legislation.

United States Senator Robert Casey (Democrat-Pennsylvania), a Scranton resident, voted against the trade agreements citing they will only hurt the American workers just as the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993 has done. The trade pacts was also signed into law by a Democratic President, Bill Clinton.

On September 13th, Mexico’s independent labor unions testified before the United States Congress on the failure of NAFTA to improve the lives of Mexican workers as was promised before the trade agreement became law. The briefing was sponsored by House of Representative Mike Michaud (Democrat-Maine) on behalf of the Congressional Labor Caucus and International Worker Right Caucus.

“More than 15 years ago, we were told that NAFTA would create a thriving middle class in Mexico. Economists and government officials said that the agreement would lead to growing trade surpluses and that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be gained. As our friends from Mexico can attest, NAFTA did not bring these benefits. Instead, workers’ rights are being violated on a regular basis, and both the United States and Mexico are worse off for it,” stated Congressman Michaud.

Three Mexican union leaders participated in the caucus and President of the United Steelworkers of America (USW) International Union, Leo Gerard also spoke before the committee.

“It is clear that the agenda of the Mexican government is to keep workers’ wages low and use that as an economic tool, and we are here today so that representatives and their staff have the opportunity to hear the facts. The Fox and Calderon administrations in Mexico have done everything they could to repress the independent unions that were actually raising the standards of living for Mexican workers,” said Mr. Gerard.

The panel of union leaders provided a detailed accounting of the windening threat to the well-being and livlihoods of Mexican workers, increasing violent acts against unions and the growing and detrimental inequality between United States workers and their Mexican counterparts.

Mr. Casey stated Pennsylvania has lost 300,000 jobs since NAFTA was implemented despite the projected new jobs increases.

The trade agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama were first proposed under Republican President George Bush four years ago.

The three Mexican union leaders who spoke at the event were: Francisco Hernandez Juarez, General Secretary of the Mexican Union of Telephone Workers (STRM); Marco del Toro, Legal Counsel of the National Union of Mine, Metal Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM) also known as Los Mineros; and Sergio Beltran Reyes, Internal and External affairs and Recording Secretary for Los Mineros.

Meanwhile, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislation was passed by Congress following the vote of the trade pacts. The TAA is intended to help workers displaced by foreign trade. Many legislators would not support TAA unless the trade agreements were ratified first.

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

10.13.11

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, issues the followings statement on the Senate approval of bilateral trade agreement with Korea, Panama and Colombia:

“I strongly believe that international trade is good for America, but it must be done properly. Such international agreements can boost our country’s ties with like-minded nations that share our values, helping to strengthen alliances and advancing American interests abroad. American workers can compete with any other workers in the world, but the playing field must be fair and have enforceable rules. Formal trade agreements between nations must be based international standards and protect workers, both at home and with our trading partners. Trade must not reduce us all to the lowest common-denominator.

“I am disappointed by the passage of the Colombia-U.S. bilateral trade agreement. Colombia’s human rights abuses, as well as intimidation and violence against labor leaders, have been documented by the U.S. State Department as recently as 2010. Trade with America is a benefit for deserving nations that share our values, especially with respect to labor rights. Given Colombia’s history and the weakness of enforcement provisions in this specific agreement, I could not support its approval. As a nation, we cannot condone sacrificing the rights of workers in the name of trade.”

CARDIN HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK JOB-BUILDING ANTI-CURRENCY MANIPULATION LEGISLATION

10.12.11

CARDIN HAILS PASSAGE OF LANDMARK JOB-BUILDING ANTI-CURRENCY MANIPULATION LEGISLATION

Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement following the passage of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act (S. 1619), of which he is an original cosponsor.

“As our economy recovers from the most devastating economic recession since the Great Depression and we work to create good-paying, high-quality jobs for Americans, we cannot ignore countries like China that engage in clearly unfair trading practices. America cannot stand alone while our competitors break the rules - American companies and American workers depend on a level playing field when it comes to international trade and that is why it’s important that we move aggressively to counter any threat to our economy or our workers who may be harmed from clearly unfair trading practices.

“This bill gives us a powerful tool to address currency manipulation by any country – manipulation that reduces the price of imported goods, while raising the price of American made goods internationally. This legislation will help reduce our trade imbalances and, most importantly, create American jobs. I call on Speaker Boehner and the House of Representatives to quickly pass this critically important bill.”

United Steelworkers Union International President calls for reviving manufacturing

08.14.11

AUGUST 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

United Steelworkers Union International President calls for reviving manufacturing

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 11th- Leo Gerald, President of the United Steelworkers (USW) International Union stated that United States manufacturing and nation’s defense industries are in critical condition and must be revived to ensure national security.

“The American economy remains fragile and uncertainty reigns. Unemployment, underemployment, wage stagnation, foreclosures all paint a grim picture of an economy still struggling to recover. For American manufacturing communities, this recession has been just one more big wave of economic tsunams that have devastated workers, employers and communties,” said Mr. Gerald.

Speaking for the United Steelworkers Union and its affiliates, before a United States Commitee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing, Mr. Gerard called for immediate action with strategic and employment linked policies, investments and incentives to revitalize a manufacturing base that lost some six million jobs and 57,000 manufacturing facilities between 1998 and 2010.

Local 2599, East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, represents USW members throughout the Lehigh Valley. Jerry Green is President of Local 2599.

Calling erosion of America’s manufacturing base a “clear and present danger,” Mr. Gerard told the committee that the health of manufacturing and the nation’s defense industries are inextricably linked.

“We believe that the decade long decline of the American manufacturing base is a crisis that has undermined our economic security and is a direct threat to our national security. The question before us is, what has happened to that prosperity and security and what must we do to strengthen the nation’s industrial base,” he added

Republicans blocking extention of Trade Adjustment program

05.10.11

APRIL 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Republicans blocking extention of Trade Adjustment program

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 28th- The United States House of Representatives leadership abruptly pulled a trade bill off the floor on February 8th because of concerns from conservative Republicans that the legislation allowed for too much government interference in the American economy.

The legislation would have extended the expiring Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) programs along with specific tariff reductions. The assistance programs provide aide and training to workers who lose their jobs or see their hours or wages reduced due to increased imports. The TAA expired on February 12th.

Trade adjustment benefits have long been used as a way to build support for free trade agreements.

The TAA program was expanded as part of the 2009 economic stimulus law and the Republican leadership argued that the TAA program picks “winners and losers” by singling out workers affected by increased imports for “extra generous treatment” by the government. The Republicans called the program duplicative, overly expensive and ineffective.

While the TAA program has traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, the conservative Republicans outlined several concerns with the legislation stressing that conservatives have voted to eliminate the program in the past.

The House of Representatives Republican leadership argues that recent TAA extensions have been enacted as part of an implicit agreement that stalled trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama would be advanced. Thus far, none of those agreements has won congressional approval with organized labor not supporting any of them.

Many Republicans have stated they will not advance TAA without a commitment from the Obama Administration to send the three pending trade deals to Congress for approval, not just the deal with South Korea.

“It is vital that we continue these present programs and I am working with my Republican colleagues to ensure that happens. Trade Adjustment Assistance provides critical training benefits, and tens of thousands of displaced workers will be affected if we allow this program to expire,” stated Democratic Michigan Representative Sander Levin.

It remains unclear whether the House leadership would attempt to bring the bill back to the floor in time to send it over to the United States Senate before summer recess.

The Theory That’s Killing America’s Economy– and Why It’s Wrong

04.08.11

The Theory That’s Killing America’s Economy — and Why It’s Wrong

I wrote in a previous article how America’s disastrous embrace of free trade is ultimately based on a false theory of how the global economy works: the so-called Theory of Comparative Advantage. This is what economists, from the government on down, believe in. This matters.

But I didn’t explain why the theory is wrong — which it is. Understanding its flaws is the price of admission to serious criticism of free trade, so it’s well worth getting a grasp on them. Economic theory can be a tough chew, but it’s worth the effort, if only to gain the intellectual confidence not to be intimidated by the so-called experts. So… let’s take a look at some of that machinery behind the wizard’s curtain, shall we?

The theory’s flaws, which are fairly well known to economists but mostly ignored, consist of a number of dubious assumptions upon which the theory depends. To wit: ……

(click on link below to read the rest of this important article)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-fletcher/the-theory-thats-killing-_b_846452.html

Obama has lost my support for 2012 over Colombia “Free Trade” deal

04.08.11

This is a deal breaker for me. I will not vote for nor support Obama for President in 2012.

I like Obama personally and supported him because I thought he would support progressive, pro-worker policies on a consistent basis.

Instead, Obama has grown increasing “Republican-lite” in policy terms.

Obama supports the so-called “free trade” deals with both South Korea and Colombia. He failed to push for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. He failed to get us fully out of either Iraq or Afghanistan. He did not push for investigations or prosecutions for anyone from the Bush regime for their many violations of federal law. He has supported budget cuts during a recession that severely hurt poor, working class and middle class Americans. He did not veto continued Bush-era tax cuts for those making over a million dollars a year. He continues to push for nuclear power.

Obama did not push for single-payer, universal healthcare. He should have insisted on at least the “public option.”

I vote on policy positions and actions….. not feelings or promises.

I will support a Democratic challenger if a progressive one arises. If not, I will only be working on state legislators, Governors, U.S House and Senate races.

Sincerely,

Stephen Crockett

Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com
Host, Democratic Talk Radio

AFL-CIO labor federation against expanding trade with Korea

03.29.11

MARCH 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

AFL-CIO labor federation against expanding trade with Korea

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 1st- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC. opposes the United States - Korea Free Trade Agreement.

According to the AFL-CIO, last year South Korean manufacturers exported nearly 500,000 motor vehicles to the United States while our manufacturers exported only about 6,000 vehicles to Korea. Autos and auto parts accounted for $7.9 billion, or 75 percent, of our $10.6 billion trade deficit with South Korea. Yet the United States Trade Representative (USTR) rejected proposals to rectify this imbalance in the trade negotiations.

The AFL-CIO supports the proposals of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union, which would safeguard and promote the long-term viability of the United States auto industry.

The AFL-CIO stated even if the fixes the issues related to the auto sector, it won’t be enough. There have been cases where free trade agreements have led to higher trade deficits and job loss. For example, it is estimated that since its passage in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has cost the United States more than a million jobs, allowed violations of core labor standards to continue and resulted in numerous challenges to laws and regulations designed to protect the public interest.

There are also serious concerns about workers’ rights in South Korea, where numerous laws fall far short of the core international labor standards. Millions of workers are hired on fixed-term contracts or through subcontracts, which makes it more difficult for workers to exercise their basic rights.

The AFL-CIO stated as a result, many workers have no way to fight back against low pay and a lack of job security. In some cases, police have used overwhelming force to break strikes. Courts frequently have imposed massive fines on workers who “obstructed the business” of their employer through collective action.

The labor federaion believes a better trade strategy begins with good domestic policy choices. What’s needed is continued and substantial public investments in education, lifelong workforce training in infrastructure and in research and development and to provide high-quality public services.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports anti-union agenda

02.20.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports anti-union agenda

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- January 22nd- The United States Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue is cautionsly optimistic about the state of the economy and has outlined a four-point plan to put jobless Americans back to work which includes passing more free trade agreements favorable to international corporations and weakening American labor laws and “beating-up” on public sector unions.

In his annual statement Mr. Donohue suggest the economy began in 2011 in a lot better shape than in 2010. “The state of American business is improving. While the recovery may be picking up steam, it is fragile and uneven. There are many unanswered questions that must be addressed before companies will start aggressively hiring. Over the next year, the Chamber’s number one priority will be to turn this economic recovery into a jobs recovey so that we can start putting Americans back to work,” stated Mr. Donohue.

Mr. Donohue outlined four immediate priorities that the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, will address to boost America’s competitiveness in the global economy.

The business federation proposed in their own language:

• Regulatory restraint and reform; Work to reform the regulatory process, to restore some badly needed balance, restraint, and common sense. We will also start up a new group to tell the story to the American people, (buy advertising in the media) about the massive costs of excessive regulations on jobs and their personal and economic freedom, (meaning labor unions).

• Expanding American trade; Work to pass the pending free trade agreements and launch a major initiative to educate citizens and policymakers on trade that will clearly link global engagement to American jobs.

• Rebuilding our economic platform; Rebuild America’s economic foundation, the platform our society runs on. Roads, bridges, rail and mass transit networks, airports, and air transport systems must be modernized. Broadband capacity, power generation, and water supplies must be expanded. We can create jobs, reduce our trade and budget deficits and increase our own security by developing all forms of alternative, renewable, and traditional energy. We will also commence a new project to outline what our nation must do to create and secure a 21st century global supply chain and logistics system.

• Reducing deficits and debt; Support congressional efforts to lower spending. We will make the case for entitlement reform as any plan that fails to tackle these runaway programs is doomed to fail. We will also support efforts by Republican and Democratic governors to challenge public employee unions and their excessive payroll, and retirement demands.

“The Chamber is examining, in a factual and objective way, the actions by our government and the actions by the business community that are either moving us forward in the global economy or holding us back. We’ll then compare this analysis to what our competitors are doing with the goal of identifying the major factors that shape the decisions of job creators, innovators, and investors, to pinpoint our strengths so that we can build on them and our weaknesses so that we can fix them,” Mr. Donohue continued.

“No one should expect the Chamber to march in lock step with anyone else’s agenda but our own. And our agenda is simple. We will continue to win important policy victories for the business community, and advance the free enterprise system,” Mr. Donohue added.

Alliance for American Manufacturing statement regarding President Obama’s elevation of Ron Bloom

01.28.11

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Executive Director Scott Paul gave the following statement regarding President Obama’s elevation of Ron Bloom to the position of assistant to the president for manufacturing policy:

“The Alliance for American Manufacturing enthusiastically welcomes the announcement today of Ron Bloom being elevated to the position of assistant to the president for manufacturing policy. No one knows the intersection of Wall Street, company board rooms, how things work on the shop floor, and economic policy better than Ron, who demonstrated his skill and know-how in helping to lead the auto industry recovery effort.

“Ron’s intellect and perspective are much-needed at a time when Congress and the Administration turn their attention to creating good manufacturing jobs in America. We share Ron’s interest and ability in bringing labor and business together to solve problems, and we look forward to working with him in his new capacity to strengthen our economy.”

Click here http://americanmanufacturing.org/multimedia/keep-it-made-america-town-hall-merrillville-unedited to view Ron Bloom addressing an AAM Town Hall meeting in Indiana last fall.

Contact: Steven Capozzola, Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing, 202-550-4322.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is a unique non-partisan, non-profit partnership forged to strengthen manufacturing in the U.S. AAM brings together a select group of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers. Our mission is to promote creative policy solutions on priorities such as international trade, energy security, health care, retirement security, currency manipulation, and other issues of mutual concern.