(April 16, 2015) — In response to introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation — also known as “Fast Track” — in the U.S. Senate today, Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson issued the following statement:
“Workers across Washington are standing up for higher wages, but 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. Washington can’t afford another bad deal that lowers wages and outsources jobs. That’s why Congress must reject Fast Track and maintain its constitutional authority and leverage to improve the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals.
“Trade deals have wide-ranging impacts and shouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors and then rubber-stamped. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted in 1994, Washington has lost nearly 30,000 manufacturing jobs and more than 70,000 workers in-state have qualified for Trade Adjustment Assistance because their jobs were displaced by our country’s trade policies. Washington families can’t afford another bad trade deal.
“The TPP should be debated in a full and open manner like every other piece of legislation. Working people are showing tremendous courage standing up to the low-wage, corporate agenda. It’s time for the members of the Washington congressional delegation to do the same.”
The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the state, representing the interests of some 400,000 rank-and-file members of more than 600 local unions and trade councils.