Labor Secures Huge Win for Workers on Trade Deal

Categories: Congress

Thanks to pressure from the labor movement, hundreds of House lawmakers last Friday blocked a job-killing international trade agreement package from moving forward.

A fast track bill, which would give the administration authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with 11 other nations without congressional amendments, narrowly passed on a 219-211 vote. But another measure that would help workers who lose their jobs because of trade deals failed on a 126-302 vote, derailing the entire package.

The latter measure – Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program – was devised to attract support for the horrendous TPP.

By making phone calls, writing letters, freezing donations, and holding rallies in the districts of the lawmakers who either supported TPP or were undecided, the labor movement was able to block this bad trade deal from moving forward.

The fight, however, is not over. House lawmakers will try to sway naysayers and possibly vote on the package again by July 30.

AFGE has been standing with the AFL-CIO in rejecting TPP, which has been called NAFTA on steroids as it would send jobs overseas, exploit low-wage workers in those countries, weaken U.S. laws and regulations, jack up drug prices, hurt the environment, among other things.

Both the fast-track bill and the TAA have passed the Senate. The Senate’s version of the TAA would be funded in part by cuts to Medicare.

AFGE and the AFL-CIO will continue to work with lawmakers to come up with trade deals that lift up all workers, raise wages, and truly transform the economy for the benefit of all Americans.

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