Shortcut Navigation:

AFL-CIO Now

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!

Follow me on Twitter

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 Sanchez 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”.

Read more and comment »

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.”

Read more and comment »

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.  

Read more and comment »

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.   

Read more and comment »

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.

Read more and comment »

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. 

Read more and comment »

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).

Read more and comment »

International Solidarity Helps Fijian Workers

In this era of bad news about wages, inequality and egregious anti-worker behavior from employers, it’s good to celebrate wins for workers. This week, Fijian workers got a big win at the meeting of the governing body of the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

Read more and comment »

AFL-CIO, More Than 40 Other Organizations Call for Public Consultations on Investor Rights in Trade Deals

“A threat to our sovereignty,” “corporate power grab,” “extraordinary investor rights.” You may have heard all these phrases in connection to trade agreements, but what do they really mean? U.S. trade policy has for years been designed so that the bulk of the benefits skew toward giant, global corporations and the bulk of the downside weighs on America’s working families and their communities, so it’s understandable that many see these deals as “corporate power agreements.”

Read more and comment »

Momentum Builds to Stop Fast Track Trade Deals, Thanks to You

Fast Track. It’s the tool that global corporations and the economic elites have used since the Nixon era to advance a trade agenda that helps corporate profits soar while pushing down U.S. wages, undermining labor rights and increasing inequality. The last Fast Track law expired in 2007, with good reason. Why should America’s middle class continue to be sacrificed simply to advance a model of globalization in which they have no say? That’s downright un-American. And yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was the latest prominent elected official to say no to Fast Track, no to H.R. 3830/S. 1900.

Read more and comment »

Online Community

Take Action

Stop Fast Track

Sign the petition and tell Congress to stop the Fast Track bill, it's undemocratic and bad for working families.

Connect With Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Flickr

Get Email from AFL-CIO

Are you a union member?

Facebook Favorites

Blogs

Join Us Online