PORTLAND, OR – The details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sweeping free trade agreement involving 40% of the global economy, has finally been released for public comment today. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain issued the following statement today regarding the release:
“It’s finally clear why the administration has kept TPP negotiations secret for so many years: this pact is a disaster for working people. If the TPP is approved by Congress, it will ship good-paying, family-wage Oregon jobs overseas, and will lower wages in jobs that are left; increasing inequality by forcing Oregonians into competition with workers abroad paid less than 65 cents an hour.
Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, over 50,000 Oregon workers have been certified by the Department of Labor as having lost their jobs due to trade. We can’t afford another trade deal that benefits multinational corporations, their shareholders and executives. We need to be more concerned about American work boots than sneakers made in Asia for pennies on the dollar.
President Chamberlain’s statement reflects the sentiment of labor leaders across the country, including National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who issued the following statement earlier this morning:
“After six long years, the secrecy is over. The public finally has a chance to scrutinize the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for themselves instead of having to rely on characterizations made by the agreement’s supporters. America’s voters can now make their own judgment about whether it meets their high standards for a 21st Century agreement that will raise wages, protect our democracy, and promote sustainable growth and development.
From what we have reviewed so far, we are deeply disappointed that our policy recommendations and those of our trade reform allies in the environmental, consumer, public health, global development, and business sectors were largely ignored. The investment rules still provide expansive new legal rights and powers to foreign businesses to challenge legitimate government actions, the labor enforcement provisions are still inadequate to address the enormous challenges posed by this deal, and the lack of enforceable currency rules subject to trade sanctions mean the promised new export markets may never materialize.
We will be examining the text line by line in the coming days to understand the deal's full implications for working people in every sector from manufacturing and agriculture to public and private services. But from what we have already seen, it is clear that the threats of this expansive new agreement outweigh its benefits -- for good jobs, for democracy, for affordable medicines, for consumer safety, and for the environment. The hardworking families of the AFL-CIO will join with our allies to defeat the TPP.”