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Labor opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement


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

Labor opposes Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement


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.