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Showing blog posts by Celeste Drake

About Celeste Drake

I’m a Trade & Globalization Policy Specialist at the AFL-CIO, which I tell my friends at home means that I do two main things: 1) try to improve U.S. trade policy so it doesn’t send more jobs overseas, and 2) try to improve labor rights for workers overseas so that workers globally can race to the top instead of having global corporations push us to the bottom.  My first experience with the labor movement was as a UFCW member while bagging groceries for six months during college.  Full health benefits for everyone who worked at least 16 hours a week?  Triple time on holidays?   I was sold on unions and never looked back!  Since then, I’ve been a public school teacher (and vice president of my local), a law clerk for a federal judge, and congressional aide on Capitol Hill.  While Legislative Director for Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), I coordinated the Labor and Working Families Caucus, one of the largest caucuses in the U.S. House of Representatives.  I’ve got a BA, a JD, and an MPP from UCLA.  Go Bruins!

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TPP Job Claims Earn 4 Pinocchios!

TPP Job Claims Earn 4 Pinocchios!

U.S. workers should beware of promises that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will create jobs. When evaluating the recent Obama administration claim that the TPP will create 650,000 jobs, the Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave it the lowest possible rating of Four Pinocchios—aka “Whopper.” Fact Checker editor Glenn Kessler wrote (after the jump):

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New Year’s Resolutions for Fair and Balanced Trade

Photo courtesy AFGE on Flickr

Last month, the United States Trade Representative, former Citibank official Michael Froman, called 2014 a “banner year on trade.”

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AFL-CIO Joins Broad Coalition to Fight for Affordable Medicines

AFL-CIO Joins Broad Coalition to Fight for Affordable Medicines

Yesterday, the AFL-CIO’s own Thea Lee joined AARPDoctors Without BordersOxfam America and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association in urging President Obama to fix proposals in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a trade and economic governance deal currently under negotiation—that could leave us all paying more for life-saving prescription medicines.

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Powerful Members of Congress Oppose Special 'Corporate Court' Rights for European Firms

Yesterday, five members of the powerful Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives (Reps. Bill Pascrell, Lloyd DoggettJohn LewisLinda Sánchez and Jim McDermott) stood up for working people by opposing the destructive “corporate courts” in the proposed trade and economic deal with Europe known as the “TTIP.”

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Let’s Get Off the Hamster Wheel on Trade!

Let’s Get Off the Hamster Wheel on Trade!

In January 2014, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, responding to the introduction of the latest “Fast Track” legislation, said, “It is past time for the United States to get off the corporate hamster wheel on trade.”

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Why We Don’t Like Fast Track: It’s a Total Failure

Why We Don’t Like Fast Track: It’s a Total Failure

Remember that scene from The Princess Bride where Inigo Montoya tells Vizzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” 

That’s how I feel about Fast Track. It’s a totally undemocratic scheme that allows the Executive Branch to negotiate—in near total secrecy—a “trade” deal that will forever change the rules of our economy, and then send that deal to Congress.  

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U.S. Government Takes Historic Action to Enforce Labor Rules in Trade Agreement with Guatemala

U.S. Government Takes Historic Action to Enforce Labor Rules in Trade Agreement with Guatemala

Today, for the first time ever, the U.S. government announced that it will begin the formal consultations that are used to resolve trade disputes in the area of labor rights enforcement. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will finally move forward to arbitration in the long-running dispute with the government of Guatemala regarding whether or not Guatemala is meeting the labor commitments of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA or CAFTA). In announcing the decision, the USTR stated that the goal is to improve conditions that workers face every day.   

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The World Trade Organization Strikes Again, Undermines U.S. Law and U.S. Workers!

WSLC photo

Once again, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has issued a decision that leaves American manufacturers—and those who work for them—behind. In two separate decisions just released (Case DS436, concerning carbon steel from India, and Case DS437, concerning solar panels and 16 other products from China), the WTO ruled that the United States had violated its WTO obligations in the manner that it applied countervailing duties on products from the two countries.

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If TTIP Trade Deal Puts People Before Profits, It Can Work, Say AFL-CIO and ETUC

The TTIP (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed trade agreement between the United States and the European Union) is an opportunity to get trade and globalization policy right, say the AFL-CIO and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the trade union federations that together represent tens of millions of workers. But this will only happen if the agreement is negotiated in an open manner, ensures that corporations cannot override governments and threaten the public good, promotes workers' rights and social justice and in all other ways puts people before profits. 

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Why Aren’t We Having a Public Debate on Investment Policies in the TTIP?

In early March, the AFL-CIO joined 42 other organizations representing labor, business, public health, environmental concerns, consumers, family farms and good governance as well as three legal scholars in sending a letter calling on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to match the European Commission’s commitment to holding a public consultation on investment issues, particularly with respect to the pending U.S.-European Union trade negotiations (known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP).

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