May 25, 2015
By Neal Tepel
With most labor unions, environmental groups, and advocate organizations opposed to Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, there needs to be a slowing down of its passage. Trade deals like the TPP have cost us millions of good paying jobs in the past. We lost 700,000 jobs at home with NAFTA. Shipping work overseas puts Americans out-of-work.
Although passed in the Senate 62-32, TPP will face a tough time in the Congress. The historic agreement would link 12 nations into a trading block encompassing 40 percent of the worlds economy. Senator Orrin Hatch called it "likely the most important bill we'll pass this year." However, progressive leaders like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are labeling the agreement a disaster for American workers. Many advocate groups want environmental and labor protection provisions included in the agreement prior to a sign-off by the President.
Any partnership between the Obama Administration, Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce should be a concern for organized labor. This deal was written and negotiated in secret, among some of the world's most powerful corporations, while Congress and the public have been shut out. Passing the TPP is repeating history, with potentially worse consequences. This deal threatens food and manufactured product safety by allowing a flood of cheap imports into the USA without clear standards.
Transparency rather than secrecy is needed. That's how democracy should work. This bill should be stopped in the Peoples House of Representatives so safeguards can be added to protect Americans.