Steelworkers Leadership Urges Rejection of TPP
The international executive board of the United Steelworkers (USW) adopted a formal resolution urging rejection of the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal by both the U.S. Congress and the Canadian federal government.
The union says TPP is bad trade policy with no real enforcement and misplaced priorities.
The USW resolution stated that the union had an earnest expectation workers’ needs in any trade deal would be met. “When negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership began, our union engaged with the negotiators and policymakers with the hope of forging a new approach,” said Leo Gerard, the USW president.
The USW, according to the resolution, sought a trade agreement for the U.S. and Canada “that would lift wages up, rather than pushing them down, one that would reduce our nations’ accumulated trade deficits that continue to mount, one that would promote domestic manufacturing and employment rather than more outsourcing and offshoring, one that would begin to reverse the widening gap of income inequality.”
Citing issues ignored that hurt American and Canadian workers, the USW resolution found the TPP didn’t address currency manipulation, accepted overcapacity in global manufacturing, had insufficient rules for state-owned enterprises, provided weak rules of origin for autos and auto parts, and showed a failure to ensure worker rights standards are implemented.
“The TPP fails to meet the promise that it would be a high-standards, twenty-first century trade agreement in the area of workers’ rights, representing not only a missed opportunity, but also limiting the ability of workers to share in the very prosperity that they will be working so hard to create for multinational firms through their labor,” said the resolution.
It added, “TPP countries would be required to adopt and maintain laws to provide for a minimum wage, but that wage may be only pennies an hour to be acceptable under the TPP.”
Saying the USW provided comprehensive proposals during the TPP negotiations about how to improve the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of U.S. trade laws, the resolution declared: “The negotiators agreed to TPP trade rules that are far from sufficient, leaving the USW with little confidence that even those rules will be enforced.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, and the service and public sectors.