Weekly Update: Double Down

Doubling Down:
The TPP’s Catastrophic Potential

The AFL-CIO released a video this week showing firsthand the devastating economic impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership could have on communities across the country. When global companies move jobs offshore to take advantage of trade deals, they not only destroy jobs, they suppress wages, deprive local governments of needed resources and leave working families behind.

Last week, United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard testified at a U.S. Trade Representative hearing examining overcapacity in the global steel market and its impact on U.S. steelmakers. There is evidence that foreign governments are subsidizing cheap steel and selling it in the United States at unfairly low prices. Countries are able to dump their cheap steel in U.S. markets because they are undervaluing their currency when setting prices.

"Currency manipulation is at the heart of this issue, and the passage of the TPP—which doesn’t address this global problem—could kill American manufacturing for good," Gerard said. "Like NAFTA, it offers no protection for American manufacturing or American workers. U.S. trade policy has not worked for working people or our communities, which has led to broad opposition to the TPP. It must be defeated."

"We know the TPP is a job killer," said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. "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."

Interested in learning more?

Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, Portland Jobs with Justice, and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite you to join us for a forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

  • Saturday, May 7th, 1pm
  • UA Local 290 Plumbers and Steamfitters training hall at 20210 SW Teton Ave, Tualatin OR 97063

Join us for a discussion with labor leaders about:

  • The history of past FTAs like NAFTA on workers and the US economy
  • Debunking the claims made about US economic gains from the TPP
  • The dangers to workers’ rights abroad in the TPP
  • What each of us can do to defeat the TPP

Click here to RSVP  

Are You Registered?

Are you registered to vote? If not, you’ve got until April 26th to do so. Head to www.oregonvotes.org to register, update your registration, or double-check your mailing address and other important information.

InstaFab Update

Workers at InstaFab have been on strike since last February, and this week The Columbian reported the company is facing numerous workplace safety violations. The company employs workers from both Oregon and Washington, and has worked on a wide range of projects in the Portland area.

According to the article, a spokesperson for Washington State Labor & Industries said, “The violations that were cited were occurring at the time of the inspection, and 10 were considered ‘serious,’ which means there is a probability of serious injury, illness or death.”

Get the full story here.

Saying No to Hate

Let's be clear: North Carolina's H.B. 2 and other "bathroom laws" popping up in states that would bar transgender people from using the restroom facility of their identified gender: We won't stand for it.

H.B. 2 not only discriminates against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, but it also means employers can now fire anyone because of their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability or veteran status. North Carolina abolished 30 years of legal protections against workplace discrimination.

This law even bars cities and municipalities from passing legislation on nondiscrimination, paid leave, fair scheduling and raising the minimum wage.

Jerame Davis, executive director of Pride At Work, said:

“In states desperately in need of jobs and infrastructure, lawmakers are focused on legalizing discrimination and harassing people in restrooms. It’s just astounding. Pride at Work condemns these regressive laws as well as those in other states, including those that are still pending. We also call upon Congress to swiftly pass the Equality Act at the federal level in order to nullify the injustice of these attempts to circumvent progress for the LGBTQ community.”

North Carolina State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan said:

“It’s crazy that at a time when our elected officials should be doing all they can to create jobs and get more people employed that they’re actually wasting taxpayer money to create a law that’s going to make it easier to discriminate and fire people. And, in the process, they’re driving business out of our state because these corporations don’t want to do business in a state that supports discrimination.”

To put it simply, H.B. 2 and similar legislation mean more discrimination, weaker benefits, less safe workplaces and lower wages.