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Trans-Pacific Partnership: Will it help or harm people?

15-dodson-lynne15-Jeff-Johnson(Nov. 5, 2015) — Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Jeff Johnson and Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson released the following joint statement in response to today’s release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

For years, this trade deal has been negotiated in secret, finally today the public will have a chance to see the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Working people will be able to see for themselves if this deal benefits America’s working families over profit-driven corporations.

Despite suggestions from the faith community, environmentalists, labor and many others, to date, there’s no indication that improvements have been made to address labor standards, environmental protections or provisions that give corporations incentives to relocate American jobs to low-wage countries.

We will examine the text to see if enforceable currency rules exist, whether many Buy American & Buy Local policies are waived, if the deal will raise the price of life-saving medicines, how the Investor State Dispute Resolution mechanism is structured, and whether there are enforceable labor, environmental and human rights standards. If these issues are not addressed, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, as the voice of 400,000 working people in Washington state, cannot support this agreement.

WA-congress-TPPIf we feel that the TPP does not adequately protect workers, our environment, domestic labor, health-and-safety and environmental standards, or our food security, then we will press our state’s Congressional delegation to vote “no” on TPP. Congressmen Jim McDermott, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck have already voted “no” on the Fast Track authority that blocked Congress from making any changes to the TPP.

We’re not sure why, if the TPP is so good for American working people, as the White House claims, that it’s been secret so long and we look forward to reading what’s actually in it. But given our history of trade agreements that off-shore jobs, cut standards of living, displace millions of workers here and abroad, the secrecy surrounding this deal forged by multinational corporations and investors, and the information we’ve seen leaked already, we’re skeptical.

Trade agreements should raise living standards both here and in the countries with whom we trade. Unless TPP is radically different from the trade models of the last 20 years, wealthy CEOs and billionaire investors will profit. The rest of us will bear the costs.

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