Legislation granting Fast Track trade authority to President Barack Obama was introduced in the U.S. Senate today. In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
At a time when workers all over the country are standing up for higher wages, Congress is considering legislation that will speed through corporate-driven trade deals. For decades, we’ve seen how fast-tracked trade deals devastated our communities through lost jobs and eroded public services. We can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs.
Call your senators—855-790-8815—and tell them to say no to Fast Track.
Fast Track would make it easier to ram through complicated trade deals without significant oversight from members of Congress or the public, just a simple "Yes" or "No" vote with no amendments allowed on trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who has been a leading voice in the Senate against Fast Track, said:
There’s too much at stake for Congress to be rushing through a bill that would allow more NAFTA-style trade deals. Our manufacturing sector has lost more than 5 million jobs since 1994. While we’ve seen an impressive recovery, the more than 629,000 Ohio jobs tied to the auto industry could be at risk if our trade deals don’t protect against competitors that cheat trade law or manipulate currency. Rushing a trade package through Congress without a healthy debate is not only reckless, but it’s a betrayal to middle class and working families in Ohio.
Trumka called on Congress to reject Fast Track and “maintain its constitutional authority and leverage to improve the TPP and other trade deals.” He added:
Trade deals have wide-ranging impacts and shouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors and then rubber-stamped. The current Trans-Pacific Partnership deal under discussion would cover 40 percent of the world’s GDP. A deal this big should be debated in a full and open manner like every other piece of legislation.
On Saturday, a coalition of labor, environmental, consumer, faith, farm, business and other groups is staging a national day of action to stop Fast Track. Click here to find a Fast Track action near you.