July 12, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – The trade deal that the House of Labor has branded a “job killer” remains alive and well this week thanks to the work of Clinton apparatchiks on the DNC’s platform committee meeting in Orlando, Florida this past weekend.
Surrogates of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had sought to advance an amendment to the Democratic National Convention platform explicitly stating that the TPP must never come up for a vote in Congress.
But Clinton appointees to the platform committee shot down those efforts in spectacularly decisive fashion.
Clinton fought for the TPP when she was secretary of state and referred to it as the “gold standard” before backing away from that position during her primary battle against the more progressive and pro-labor Sanders. President Barack Obama also continues to support the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, arguing that it somehow strengthens America’s economy.
In April, however, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the TPP a “Job killer” and said, "Our trade agreements should help to create good jobs in America and enable regular working people to succeed by working hard to get ahead. The TPP fails this goal miserably.”
On last week’s episode of LaborPress’ “Blue Collar Buzz”, United Steelworkers Union International President Leo Gerard denounced both Republicans, as well as “corporate Democrats” for continuing to oppose progressive trade policies that safeguard American workers.
“We’ve got a few of what I would call corporate Democrats, and I can be very blunt about it — they’re not going to get any help from the Steelworkers,” Gerard said.
At the same time, however, Gerard also expressed continued support for Clinton. Both the AFL-CIO and the USW backed Clinton over Sanders during this year’s Democratic Primary fight.
“There are things that are not even talked about, whether it’s on the platform committee or whether it’s in the public arena,” Gerard continued. “One of the really scary provisions of these trade deals — and in particular the TPP — is this industrial disputes panel that can bypass American law and can bypass the laws of Canada, can bypass the laws of Mexico, can bypass the laws of any country.”
Under the TPP, any company that feels it has been denied profits due to the regulations of another country, can seek to sue that country.
“Well, that’s nuts,” Gerard said. “Why would any country give up its sovereignty to multinational corporations? That doesn’t even get discussed in the corporate media. It doesn’t get discussed by the corporate Democrats. And to Hillary’s credit, she’s commented on that negatively and said that can’t be.”
It remains to be seen if Sanders and his supporters will continue to press for an anti-TPP amendment to the DNC platform. The Brooklyn-born senator has vowed to take his revolutionary campaign all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this month.
Sanders has continually emphasized that his presidential campaign is about more than getting him into the White House — and has rallied his supporters to pour their energies into backing truly progressive candidates at every level of elected office.
Something Gerard also advocated on “Blue Collar Buzz.”
“We’ll see where this goes,” Gerard concluded. “We need to make sure we not only [don’t] elect Trump, but we elect more progressives to the Senate, more progressives to the House, more progressives on the down ballot — governors and members of state legislatures. Because, if you look at what’s happened over the last several years, workers have had the hell beat out of them not just by Republicans at the federal level, but by Republican governors and Republican members of state houses who have tried to tar unions as if they were bad for society.”