Connect with us


Sec. Kerry: ‘Export our planes, not our jobs’

Citizens protest outside Secretary of State’s event at Boeing



RENTON (May 19, 2015) — At the Boeing factory here on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed company executives and dignitaries who share his support for granting “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority for the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other “free trade” deals in coming years. Outside, representatives of the many labor, environmental, community and civic groups who oppose Fast Track — including Boeing’s employees — protested, including with a banner that read, “Export our planes, not our jobs!”

holden-jon“We want Secretary Kerry to take this message back to Washington, D.C.: We’re only interested in trade deals that work for working Americans, and we want his support for exporting our airplanes, not our jobs,” said Jon Holden, President of Machinists Union District Lodge 751.  “American workers have been told time and again that this new free trade deal will be better — just trust us. But the American public isn’t being allowed to see anything in writing.  Trust has to be earned, just like we earn our pay.  We’ve lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs in American since NAFTA — how many more do we have to give?”

The Fast Track/TPA legislation limits debate and forbids amendments to the secret TPP and other NAFTA-style trade deals negotiated over the next six years. The White House is short of the votes needed to pass Fast Track in the U.S. House of Representatives and several members of Washington state’s congressional delegation say they are undecided, which is why Kerry came to Renton on Tuesday.


“After more than 20 years of broken promises, lost jobs and rising economic inequality, the free traders have lost the benefit of the doubt,” said Gillian Locascio of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. “We strongly support trade, but only trade that benefits everyone. We’ve seen and experienced the damage these deals can do. Trade is too important for Congress to pass up their only opportunity to influence these secret deals negotiated by international corporations. That means voting NO on Fast Track.”

A broad coalition of more than 100 unions, environmental groups, community organizations, small businesses, civic groups and political organizations — plus the Washington State Democrats and the city councils of Seattle and Bellingham — are all opposed to Fast Track.  And recent polls show that voters in Washington state also strongly oppose it.

“We stand in solidarity with our labor allies on our shared goals of broadly-shared prosperity and a healthy environment,” said Becky Kelley, President of the Washington Environmental Council. “And we stand together against fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been developed in secrecy without public scrutiny. What has been shared has been deeply concerning when it comes to setting environmental standards to protect our health and future.”

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!