Western New Yorkers Stand Against ‘Fast Track’ & the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal
Members of the Western New York Community including Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), as well as representatives from the NYS AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America, Coalition for Economic Justice, and Food and Water Watch rallied in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ‘fast track’ process designed to push through the trade deal which threatens U.S. jobs.
Final negotiations are underway on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement between the United States and 11 countries including Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore. Trade Promotion Authority, or ‘fast track,’ is an expedited process which removes the ability for Congress to debate and amend the proposal.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership would close the doors on more U.S. businesses and open new doors to outsourcing American jobs,” said Congressman Higgins, who has pushed for transparency in the negotiating process, publicly opposed fast-track and has a long record of opposition to bad free trade policies. “History has taught us that trade deals like this are bad for workers in this country and community so we stand together in opposition to the TPP and fight to keep jobs here at home.”
CWA Local 1122 Political and Legislative Chair Tom Roulley added, “If TPP is such a good trade deal then why is it so secretive and why must it be secret for four years after it is signed? Why, because it is not a good deal and they have to hide the details because if people knew what was in it, it would never pass.”
The group made the announcement in front of the old Trico plant in Buffalo, home to the first manufacturer of windshield wipers and the largest employer in the City from the 1930s until 1998 when manufacturing operations moved to Mexico and the doors to the Buffalo plant closed. The location demonstrates the impact bad trade deals have had and could continue to have on workers and the communities that support manufacturing industries.
“U.S. workers have paid a steep price for bad policies of the past,” said New York State AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Terry Melvin. “We stand united in the fight for not one more job loss.”
Trico and other notable Western New York employers including: American Axle, Nabisco Niagara Falls, Carborundum and Buffalo Color are among the Western New York companies falling victim to bad trade policies since implementation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994.
Coalition for Economic Justice Executive Director Rev. Kirk Laubenstein said, "As an organization that brings together labor, religion and community to ensure workers have what it takes to thrive, we know the Trans-Pacific Partnership is bad. It's bad for workers, it's bad for the environment, and it’s bad for local business. I urge Congress and the President to do the right thing and to kill this job killing agreement"
Participants at the rally expressed concern that the TPP compromises the value the United States places on human rights, fair labor practices, environmental stewardship and fair pay in the workplace.