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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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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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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). 

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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.”

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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.

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Trade Deficit Numbers Show Policy Changes Needed

Trade Deficit Numbers Show Policy Changes Needed

The trade deficit numbers released today provide more evidence that U.S. trade policy needs to change, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

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The Many Shortcomings of the U.S. NAFTA-Style Trade Model

Labor, Community, Environmental Faith-based press conference/rally CWA put together with the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body.

The AFL-CIO rarely ends up on the same side of an economic issue as columnists from the Weekly Standard, but we just had to share this piece, which concludes that now is not the time for Fast Track (called in this article “Trade Promotion Authority”). In this column, Irwin M. Stelzer writes (after the jump).... 

Stop Fast Track trade legislation dead in its tracks by signing a petition here

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Why We Don’t Want a Fast Track Trade Deal: It Will Lower Wages

Photo courtesy of Alex Garland Photography,

You may have heard that Fast Track has helped depress wages for America’s workers over the past 20-plus years. How does it do this? 

Sign a petition to stop Fast Track dead in its tracks here.

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