Many Americans have questions about last week’s House vote against the undemocratic, unaccountable Fast Track bill. The bottom line is that Fast Track is stalled, for now. To advance to the president’s desk, both parts of the bill had to advance. But the first part of the bill, a vote on the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, was defeated by a resounding vote, 302–126. This vote effectively killed the bill, but only temporarily. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) preserved the right to have a revote on that portion of the bill. And even if a revote fails, the House leadership can repackage the bill in a number of ways. In other words, this is not over. Global corporations and their allies in Congress will continue to try every trick in the book to ensure a clear path for bad trade deals that lower our wages, endanger our air and water, and increase corporate influence over our economy.
As thousands of unaccompanied minors have arrived at the United States’ southern border in recent weeks, right-wing politicians and activists have used the refugee situation to push their anti-immigrant agendas, roll back protections for potential trafficking victims and stoke xenophobia among the general public by focusing on gang violence and disease.
As another round of negotiations for the U.S.–E.U. trade deal (known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) began, 121 leading academic experts on trade, investment law, European Union (EU) law, international law, human rights, constitutional law, global political economy and related fields issued a statement expressing deep concern about the investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions that negotiators plan to include in the deal.
In case you missed it at the end of June (and who can blame you, really?) trade numbers between the United States and China were recently released for the month of April 2014, providing us with another month’s worth of reasons for why U.S. trade policy needs to change.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is conducting a “public forum”—a short poll with leading questions about what people think about trade and how it affects their lives.
Government purchasing, which is anything the government might buy from computers, iron, pipes and furniture to services like construction and janitorial contracts, should be used as a tool to promote job creation, wage growth and a cleaner environment for working people. This is especially important given the threat of climate change and the staggering inequality in the U.S. economy. But because today’s trade deals (from the World Trade Organization [WTO] to various Free Trade Agreements [FTAs]) restrict government choices about how to purchase goods and services, the opportunities to use government purchasing (also known as procurement) in this way are limited.
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations, otherwise known as IUF, recently released a report, Trade Deals that Threaten Democracy, expressing strong opposition to two trade agreements currently being negotiated. The two deals–the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and several Pacific-Rim countries–would open trade between the parties, and potentially create jobs and reduce the cost of consumer goods. So why does this global union federation so strongly oppose them?
Nearly 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, some 5 million more than in 2012, because the number of jobs is not keeping pace with the growing workforce. As the world’s elite meet in Davos, Switzerland, this week to discuss global economics, the International Labor Organization released its annual jobs report, showing how much work must be done to ensure workers can support themselves and their families.
Here are some headlines from the working families news we're reading today (after the jump).