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Trade Policies Must Benefit U.S. Economy and U.S. Workers

WHEREAS:

            We live in a global economy and depend on trade as an important international economic activity; and

WHEREAS:

            Trade policy done correctly can benefit the U.S. economy and U.S. workers, who are the most productive in the world; and

WHEREAS:

            Global enterprises, seeking to suppress wages, disregard air and water protections and violate fundamental labor rights, must no longer be the architects of trade policy; and

WHEREAS:

            Trade is essential to our economic well-being and our core values – democracy, economic justice, consumer, environmental and labor rights – and these must be reflected in our trade agreements; and 

WHEREAS:

            Past trade agreements were mainly concerned with eliminating obstacles to trade, such as tariffs and quotas; and

WHEREAS:

            Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, negotiations now revolve around efforts to harmonize regulatory schemes across borders and, as a result, such negotiations are much broader and set binding policy on Congress and state legislatures relating to patents and copyrights, access to affordable medications, food safety, immigration, public health standards and labor rights; and  

WHEREAS:

            The administration’s trade agenda includes three new trade and globalization agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), covering the 12-nation Asian-Pacific region; the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union; and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), covering 50 countries; and


 

WHEREAS:

            The provisions being advanced by the United States Trade Representative for the TPP Agreement will undermine the ability of the states and the federal government to moderate escalating prescription drug, biologic drug and medical device costs in public programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare; and

WHEREAS:

            In particular, the reported U.S. TPP proposal is lopsided in reflecting only the concerns of big pharmaceutical manufacturers and not the interests of consumers in the U.S. and other countries; and

WHEREAS:

            The current negotiating process is not transparent; and 

WHEREAS:

            The Administration is also requesting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), also known as fast track authority, which is an undemocratic, unaccountable process that has been used to shield agreements under negotiation from influence by the American public and virtually assure the passage of trade deals without full debate and consideration.

THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME opposes any extension of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which ended in 2007, because it would facilitate closed-door deal-making which is not only a threat to American jobs but to our democracy as well; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will oppose adoption and implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which unfairly promotes the rights of the one percent rather than shared gains from trade. AFSCME will oppose any trade agreement that does not contain basic worker rights and does not retain the power of state and local governments to adopt economic, labor, health care, and environmental and human rights policies; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will oppose the Trade in Services Agreement, an agreement that wrongly adopts rules that promote privatization of public services and restricts the ability to regulate in the public interest; and 


 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will oppose any trade agreements that do not adhere to a common-sense, open, democratic trade negotiation process, with meaningful and enforceable labor standards, sustainable growth models, respect for the rights to privacy, health care and free expression as the guiding principles; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will work in solidarity with the AFL-CIO, Public Services International  and other likeminded organizations to strengthen and improve trade policy and all proposed trade agreements; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That trade policies must be designed to raise living standards, enhance our quality of life and protect our environment in order to build a better tomorrow for all working families.

 

SUBMITTED BY:
Danny Donohue, President and Delegate
Denise Berkley, Secretary and Delegate
CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000
New York

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