- The Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Impact of Free Trade Policy in Washington State
- Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (AKA TPP)
- SweatFree Washington
- Trade Stories Project
- Activist Links
Friday, June 23, 2015
Senate Endorses Bad Trade Policy, Casting Shadow Over How We Will Manage Globalization
Washington States two senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray voted in favor of Trade Promotion Authority, known as “Fast Track,” granting the President a green light to conclude a 12-country trade deal that puts corporate interests first and pushes public interests to the side.
This comes after a close bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives on its version of the “take-it-or-leave-it” procedural bill, designed to rush bad trade legislation through Congress. Representatives McDermott, Smith, and Heck stood with workers, communities, and the environment by opposing fast track, while Representatives DelBene, Kilmer, and Larsen sided with just 28 Democrats in favor of fast track.
Stan Sorscher, President of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition said today, “Since NAFTA, our trade policy has encouraged global companies to move production, technology and capital out of our economy, to low wage countries with weak protections for workers and the environment. Today’s vote endorses a failed policy that erodes our industrial base, limits our ability to deal with environmental problems, and continues a race to the bottom.”
Negotiators could wrap up the next NAFTA-style trade deal, quickly, triggering the Fast Track process in Congress.
Gillian Locascio, Campaign Coordinator for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition looks forward to an open public debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, involving 12 countries around the Pacific. “The more people see of TPP, the less they like it. For the next few months, we can expose the TPP on its substance. It is bad for workers, communities and the environment and it is bad public policy. We predict an overwhelming public opposition to TPP when it finally gets dragged out into the light of day.”
**UPDATE: RE-VOTE ON STAND ALONE FAST TRACK BILL SCHEDULED FOR 8 AM PST, THURSDAY JUNE 18. CONTACT CONGRESS NOW!**
Despite intense pressure from the White House, on Friday, June 12, the US House of Representatives rejected the fast track/TAA trade package… for now. This is a time to celebrate, but we’re not quite done yet! A re-vote could happen this week.
Let’s make sure this defeat stands. It is crucial that your Representative hear from you. Look up how your Representative voted, send an email to them now with this handy tool and call them at 202.224.3121.
Unsure what happened on Friday? Here’s the quick version:
While the House narrowly passed the Fast Track bill (219-211), the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Bill was soundly rejected (126-302). Because the two bills were tied together in the Senate version, Fast Track will not advance at this time. Voting “No” on the TAA bill, a program that retrains workers who lose their jobs due to our trade policy and generally supported by Democrats, was characterized by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as a vote to “slow down Fast Track,” which she argued had insufficient protections for workers’ rights and environmental protection and called on other Democrats to oppose. This weekend, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton echoed some of these concerns as well. Read a full explanation of Friday’s vote at the Stand.
TAA could be reconsidered as early as tomorrow (June 16th) or we may see a different but similar package face another vote in the House and in the Senate. For a more detailed look at the options that
Fast Track is facing, check out this article from Politico.
As long as they are packaged, a vote for TAA is now a vote for Fast Track. Because of this, Washington Fair Trade Coalition and our allies are urging Congress to vote against fast track and TAA if a re-vote happens this week.
As our friends at the Washington State Labor Council have said, “While we have long supported TAA–we prefer jobs,” and TAA is being used as a ploy to get Fast Track, which destroys jobs.
Please take a moment to thank Congressman McDermott for standing with workers, communities, the environment, and thousands of public interest organizations and businesses by voting against the entire trade package on Friday.
Please take a moment to thank Congressmen Smith and Heck for voting against Fast Track and to stand with us again by also voting against TAA if it comes up for a vote this week.
All of the US Representatives can be reached at the DC switchboard (202-224-3121)
**BREAKING: THE VOTE HAS BEEN SCHEDULED TO START AT 8:20 AM PACIFIC TIME TOMORROW.**
Watch at CSPAN or http://houselive.gov
Call your Rep NOW and urge them to vote NO: 202.224.3121
Tomorrow, the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote whether to Fast Track the massive, secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership and other pending agreements (TTIP, TiSA).
Representatives Smith and Heck joined Seattle’s McDermott in voicing their strong opposition to Fast Track, and disillusionment with how the current model of trade is impacting the middle class here and globally.
Check out this great article in the Seattle P-I, which lays out why we need a new model of trade:
Call Reps Smith, Heck, and McDermott and thank them for standing with workers, communities, and the environment! 202.224.3121 (DC Switchboard)
Ways & Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) is pushing to bring his awful Fast Track legislation for a vote in the House next week. We need your help stopping him. Please call your U.S. Representative now at 1-888-804-8311 and urge him or her to vote NO on Fast Track.
Representative Ryan’s Fast Track bill has already passed in the Senate, and if approved by the House, would allow secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be rushed through Congress, circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.
Despite being under negotiation for years now, the American public has been barred from reviewing what TPP negotiators have been proposing in our names. Meanwhile, hundreds of corporate lobbyists — representing companies like Walmart, Chevron and Cargill — have had special “cleared advisor” status which provides them with privileged access to the TPP texts and TPP negotiators. That’s not right.
Providing a Fast Track rubber stamp to back-room trade deals sight unseen is NOT the way to make sound public policy in a democracy. It may pad the profits of well-connected transnational corporations, but only at the expense of the economy, the environment and public health at home and abroad.
The good news is that, together, we can stop Fast Track. TAKE ACTION NOW: please call your Representative at 1-888-804-8311 and urge him or her to vote NO on Fast Track.
Literally thousands of organizations — representing the labor, environmental, family farm, civil rights, digital rights, human rights, public health, consumer, faith, student and other movements — have united to say NO to Fast Track. We can win this. We just need your help.
Now really is the time for action. Fast Track proponents are trying to move quickly. Let’s knock them off track. Please call your Representative now.
PS — If you can’t call now, you can still make a difference by emailing Congress and supporting WFTC’s work with a donation. Thank you!
RSVP to Gillian@washingtonfairtrade.org , 206.227.3079
Tacoma: (hosted by South Sound Jobs with Justice)
Pierce County CLC, 3049 South 36th St.
June 3, 5:30-8:00 PM
UFCW 21, 5030 1st Ave. S
June 4th, 5:30-8:00 PM
June 9th, 5:30-8:00 PM
June 11th, 5:30-8:00 PM
UFCW 21 Mt Vernon, 1510 N 18th St
June 4th, 5:30-8:00 PM
June 9th, 5:30-8:00 PM
June 11th, 5:30-8:00 PM
As you may have heard from our Facebook and/or newsletter, we at the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and our allies are calling for an ALL HANDS ON DECK! stop to Fast Track. The House of Representatives is currently on recess which means our reps are home in Washington. This is an absolutely crucial moment in this fight because we expect the Representatives to vote on Fast Track very shortly after returning to DC–possibly that week.
Our Congressional delegation makes up 25% of the undecided Democrat vote on Fast Track. We want them to know everywhere they go this week that their constituents are demanding they vote NO!
There are events happening in every target district this week. You can RSVP to all of them here.
If you are with an organization that has the capacity, please consider Adopting a Day to visit any of the Rep’s offices with letters, postcards from our Day of Action or just to have your voice heard in numbers.
If we do our job right, we will keep this thing from coming to a vote any time soon. But we can’t do it without you. If you have ever been outraged by the Trans-Pacific Partnership and this undemocratic process called Fast Track, SPEAK NOW, join us or it just might be too late.
1. Call or email your members – ask them to call their Reps, or have them write letters.
-Sample letters are available upon request
2. Adopt a day – Have your organization adopt a day and a district (or 2, or 5) and send a delegation to talk with Reps, organize a call-in, drop postcards or letters. Please let us know if you can by the Google form or call at *206* *227* *3079*
3. Phone Bank – We’ll have phone banking with patch-through capability to let voters talk directly to their Reps. We need phone bankers!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Seattle at UFCW 21
Tuesday: Olympia at WSLC office
Wednesday: Tacoma at UFCW 367
4. Office Shoe deliveries – Join us to send the message “Don’t Walk Away from Workers!” (or the environment, or our communities…) We will be gathering at the offices of Representatives who remain undecided on fast track and delivering old shoes, then hanging around for a bit. We need people! Help us recruit, come along, and bring a pair of old shoes.
In Tacoma on Wednesday there is a full day of action focused on Rep. Kilmer so if you have Tacoma members please make an extra effort to get them out on that day!
May 6, 9:30 AM -1 PM, Tacoma
9:30 AM Rep. Derek Kilmer, a key swing vote for Fast Track legislation, is speaking at a community forum “Of, By, and For the People: Taking our Democracy Back From Special Interests.” Join us to make it clear that a vote for Fast Track IS a vote for expanded corporate rights and would undermine our democracy. We must fill the room with allies who will ask tough questions on this issue!
Noon, Shoe delivery at Rep Kilmer’s Tacoma office
Other Shoe Drops:
May 7, 2 PM, Rep Kilmer’s Port Angeles office
May 8, Noon, Rep Smith’s Renton office
May 8, Noon, Rep Heck’s Lacey office
May 8, Noon, Rep DelBene’s Bothell office
May 8, Noon, Rep Larsen’s Bellingham office
Facebook events listed at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1012392122153104/
In case you still missed it here is the best way to RSVP to any and all of the events this week! We’ll see you out there!
April 18th Day of Action for stopping Fast Track could not have been at a better time. With four successful canvasses (Everett, South Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia) and one rowdy Ferndale rally, Washington State stood in solidarity with many across the country who oppose this Fast Track to bad trade policy!
Since the canvassing, there has been a ton of momentum! A broad coalition of Washington State organizations, including labor, environmental, food and small business interests circulated a sign on letter. Over 100 organizations signed.
You can find more information on the Washington sign on letter here!
On top of that, today the Citizens Trade Campaign released its national sign on letter that many Washington organizations also signed on to. This letter has an impressive 2,009 organizations saying no to Fast Track. The variety of folks on the letter is astonishing and cares care of any concern that labor are the only people opposing this new (and still awful!) free trade policy.
Friends of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition have made visits to several of the reps offices, delivering constituent postcards opposing Fast Track. These have been incredibly helpful and let us know that continuing to pressure the Washington Congressional delegation daily is necessary to win this thing!
Please take a moment to thank Representative Jim McDermott for opposing the Fast Track bill during its markup in the Ways and Means Committee of the house.
More information on his opposition and how to thank Rep. McDermott can be found here
We are moving in to the most important recess so far in this fight for fair trade! Every day we will be acting on the representatives to get them to vote no on Fast Track, as a vote will most likely be waiting for them right when they get back to DC.
If you would like to be involved in any action in your area, please contact Gillian at *206* *227* *3079*
Sign your organization on to a national sign on letter opposing Fast Track! Closes Wednesday!
Can your organization sign? Get more information from us! Call Gillian at 206 ** 227 ** 3079
With the release of the “new” TPA bill in Congress this past week (we all know it as “Fast Track”), there has been a lot of talk coming from Senators Hatch and Wyden that this bill and much new and improved from last year’s dead on arrival Camp Baucus Bill.
This simply is not the case.
Language of the 2015 bill is almost identical to that of the 2014 bill.
Public Citizen provides an excellent analysis of the “differences” between the two bills.
To re-enforce what we asked for last year, this bill does not address:
No enforceable human rights or environmental standards. The president still unilaterally can choose trade partners regardless of known violations.
No enforceable measure for currency manipulation disciplines despite bi-partisan agreement that this issue must be addressed in future trade agreements.
There has been no compromise–the bill is not what we want to see or have ever asked to see! It simply isn’t good enough.
In addition to having your organization sign on to the letter above, please continue to call your Washington Representatives. They remain silent about this crucial.
Should one take a stand, the others should follow!
Here are their numbers:
Rep Smith: 202.225.8901
Rep DelBene: 202.225.6311
Rep Reichert: 202-225-7761
Rep Larsen: 202.225.2605
Rep Heck: 202.225.9740
Rep Kilmer: 202.225.5916
Rep McDermott: 202.225.3106
Rep McMorris-Rogers: 202.225.2006
Rep Hastings: 202.225.5816
April 12, SeaTac Airport, WA – Early on Sunday morning, constituents gathered at departures in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. As travelers rolled by, they stood on the sidewalk with signs reading “Bon Voyage,” “Have a Safe Trip,” and “Free Trade is for the 1%”, waiting for their Members of Congress to arrive.
“It has been an action-packed two weeks with our elected officials back in district,” explained Gillian Locascio, coordinator of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. “Constituents and organizations have been meeting with our Representatives all week, dropping into their offices, canvassing, sending video messages, and putting up yard signs. A fast track bill could be introduced any day. We’ve come out to send off our Representatives, wish them a safe trip, and leave them one last reminder to oppose Fast Track!”
It was their lucky day, as the very people they were waiting for rolled up. Demonstrators presented the undecided Washington U.S. Representatives with a larger-than-life checklist, with only one task: Stop Fast Track. We hope it serves as a useful reminder!
Check out our Bon Voyage video here, share widely, and call your member of Congress today.
Then, welcome them back on the National Day of Action to Stop Fast Track, April 18.
Join us at one of the events below, or organize your own!
April 18th, Stop the TPP and Fast Track Protest Rally
Washington State Labor Council Office
The time is now to join the statewide fight against the TPP. The national movement is looking to us to take a firm stand against this! We will see you there!
In a unanimous vote on Monday, March 30, trade dependent Seattle passed a resolution OPPOSING Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Seattle City Council’s resolution follows last week’s similar resolution passed by Bellingham City Council, and weeks of visits, calls, and letters to City Council from members of more than 50 environmental, labor, faith, social justice, public health groups, and socially responsible businesses.
Thank you, Seattle City Council, for listening.
What lessons can we learn from this week’s vote? Stan Sorscher, blogger with the Huffington Post, details seven lessons in his recent article. Check out lesson number 2–the more you look at our failed trade policy, the less you like it:
Seattle City Council members started this debate as informed citizens, but not trade experts. They quickly came up the learning curve over several weeks. They heard plenty from corporate advocates, who abound in the Seattle area. They also heard from workers, environmentalists, social justice groups, and the faith community. While they were studying this issue, WikiLeaks released a new draft of the notorious investment chapter of the TPP.
Council members looked at dozens of letters written by members of Congress to our negotiators. A letter from Jay Inslee, Governor of the most trade dependent state in the union, opposing a key provision in TPP was so persuasive it was cited twice in the resolution.
Councilmembers considered many statements from the US Trade Representative’s office. Our trade negotiators are diplomats and they use diplomatic language, which often involves half-truths. That’s fine for diplomats who are not accountable… An elected official puts his or her credibility at risk by aligning with someone who tells diplomatic half-truths.
Just prior to the vote, one Council member summarized her personal experience, concluding, “what I saw [in USTR statements] were a lot of conclusionary statements without a lot of support.”
Watch the video of the hearing and read more:
The Seattle Times: City Council opposes Fast Track for Pacific Rim trade Pact
Huffington Post Blog: Lessons from Seattle City Council’s 9-o Vote Opposing Fast Track
**UPDATE: MISS THE FORUM? CHECK OUT THE FULL VIDEO HERE! **
Join Washington Fair Trade Coalition at a special reception and fundraiser preceding March 23 Town Hall Seattle! 6:30 PM, 25$ suggested donation includes finger foods, drinks, and a complimentary ticket to Town Hall. Reserve space at the reception here.
MON March 23, Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave
David Bonior: Unpacking the Myths of Free Trade
6:30 pm, optional reception and fundraiser for WFTC (Reserve space here)
7:30 pm, Town Hall Program (5$ ticket available at door or in advance here)
Last January saw the 20th anniversary of the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement, and its influence on American manufacturing, workforce, agriculture, and other sectors has been vast. This panel discussion — featuring former Congressman David Bonior — will give an overview of NAFTA, its impacts, and how this monumental legislation has influenced Washington’s transpacific trade politics. The panel will also outline Washington’s current economy and trade politics, and offer a glimpse at the future of free trade.
Moderated by Seattle Globalist’s Signe Predmore. Panelists: * David Bonior * Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO * Mark McDermott * Robin Everett, Associate Regional Representative at the Sierra Club * Mary Anne Mercer, Health Alliance International *