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Washington Fair Trade Coalition

Most Crucial May Recess–Stop Fast Track NOW!

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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.

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A quick summary of the events:

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
RSVP at:http://tinyurl.com/StopFastTrackinMay

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
RSVP at:http://tinyurl.com/StopFastTrackinMay
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!

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Day of Action Highlights and Pushing Back Fast Track!

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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!

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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*

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New Bill=No Compromise

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IMMEDIATE ACTION!
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

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After Action-packed Recess, WFTC wishes Congress Bon Voyage

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!

(Facebook link here)

 

April 18th, Stop the TPP and Fast Track Protest Rally

Pioneer Park, Barr Barn
2004 Cherry Street
Ferndale, WA
1:00 PM
 
April 18th, Rep. Heck Don’t Fast Track the TPP! Canvass
Washington State Labor Council Office
906 Columbia St. SW, Suite 300
Olympia, WA
10 AM-2 PM
 
April 18th, Rep. Kilmer Don’t Fast Track the TPP! Canvass
Pierce County Labor Council
3049 South 36th St
Tacoma, WA
10 AM-2 PM
April 18th, Rep. Larsen Don’t Fast Track the TPP! Canvass
Everett Labor Temple
2810 Lombard, 2nd floor
Everett, WA
9:30 AM-1 PM
April 18th, Rep. Smith Don’t Fast Track the TPP! Canvass
El Centro de la Raza
2524 16th Ave S, Room 105
Seattle
10 AM-2 PM

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! 

 

 

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Seattle City Council Unanimously Opposes Fast Track

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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:

Larry testifying

Selden testifying

Full Video of Testimonies and Vote , and Photos by Alex Garland, the Dignity Virus

The Stranger: Seattle City Council Unanimously Opposes Fast-Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and The Trans-Pacific Partnership isn’t Boring – Here’s what it means for Seattle

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

Press Releases: City Council Press Release * Washington Fair Trade Coalition Press Release * 60 organization Letter to Seattle City Council

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David Bonior at Town Hall Seattle: Unpacking the Myths of Free Trade

**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.

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PROGRAM:

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 *

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Seattle City Council Moves Resolution Opposing Fast Track

Robin Everett of the Sierra Club testifies before Seattle City Council PLUS Committee Hearing for a resolution opposing Fast Track for the TPP. March 17

Robin Everett of the Sierra Club testifies before Seattle City Council PLUS Committee Hearing for a resolution opposing Fast Track for the TPP, March 17

Today, Seattle City Council PLUS committee passed a resolution expressing opposition to Fast Track and strong concerns about the TPP.

Thank you Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Kshama Sawant, and Nick Licata for standing up for workers, our health, our environment, and our right to make laws that protect the public good.

The full City Council will hear and vote on the resolution MONDAY, MARCH 30.

They need to hear from you! CALL SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL TODAY. Tell them you oppose both Fast Track and the TPP. Urge them to pass the resolution with no further amendments.

Call 206-684-8566 and/or email them at council@seattle.gov

Read more at: http://www.thestand.org/?p=38706

 

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Fair Trade or Bust Tour comes to Washington in February

fair-trade-or-bustourLet’s Roll!  The debate over “Fast Track” legislation for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other pending trade deals is coming to a head right now.  Several Members of Congress from the Pacific Northwest remain undecided on this critical issue and need to hear from you!

 

To voice opposition against the disastrous impacts Fast Track would have on the Pacific Northwest’s economy, environment and public health, the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Sierra Club, and our allies in the labor, environmental, public health and human rights movements are getting on a bus called the “Blue-Green Machine” for an action-packed day of rallies, press events and briefings to highlight how bad trade policy has impacted our communities.

 

 

– February 17, Washington State –

  • 7:30am — Optional: Get on the Bus!

Want to be part of a carpool for the morning’s events, or the full day? Groups are arranging carpools from Seattle, Bellingham, and Tacoma. Call Gillian at 206 * 227 * 3079 for more information.

 

  • 9:30am — Rep. DelBene: Stand with Washington against Fast Track! 

204 W. Montgomery St, Mount Vernon, WA  - RSVP HERE -

Constituents rally against Fast Track at the office of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene for Washington’s food suppliers, good-paying jobs, and a healthy environment.

 

  • 2:30pm — Rep. Kilmer: Port Workers Oppose Fast Track, Will You?

Fireman’s Park, A St. & S 9th St; Tacoma, WA   - RSVP HERE -

A press event and rally overlooking the Port of Tacoma with port workers and other constituents denouncing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and calling on Congressman Derek Kilmer to oppose Fast Track.

 

  • 6:30pm — Briefing on the TPP’s Threat to Washington State Sovereignty

Labor Council Building, 906 Columbia St SW, Suite 300, Olympia, WA   - RSVP HERE -

A happy hour briefing with partners from partners in labor and environmental groups and the state legislature on ways in which leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership provisions threaten state and local policies on the environment, consumer safety, public procurement and more.

 

Come out and raise your voice with us for Fair Trade policy!

 

RSVP online at: http://tinyurl.com/fairtradeorbust

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Governor Inslee Urges US Trade Negotiators: Protect State Policies from Corporate Trade Courts

Last week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee sent a letter to US trade negotiators expressing concerns about a controversial provision in three major pending trade agreements—Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

TPP Stills_Stop the corporate coupOpposition is mounting in the US and abroad to Investor-State Dispute Settlement, a legal provision that has been quietly included in countless trade agreements over the last few decades. ISDS significantly expands the rights of foreign investors in three ways. It allows foreign corporations to sue governments when regulations reduce future profits. It creates shadowy, corporate-friendly tribunals to hear these claims, separate from national courts. Finally, it sets standards that put investor rights above public interest, contrary to the legal traditions in America and other developed countries.

 

These provisions put taxpayers at risk for long legal battles and costly damage awards. They also have a chilling effect on state and national policy-makers, making them think twice before passing public health and environmental regulations.

In his letter, Governor Inslee emphasizes these risks,
“In its current form, the liabilities of investor-state provisions outweigh their potential value.” Governor Inslee further explains, “It certainly appears that we are susceptible to losing a case if the legal reasoning used in favor of U.S. investors under certain cases in the past were to be applied against our country’s policies in the future.”

Under NAFTA alone, Mexico has already paid more than $200 million in penalties while Canada has shelled out $157 million, with billions of dollars still in dispute.

ISDS was originally promoted as a way of encouraging foreign investment by providing protections for investors. Instead, it has become a powerful tool by which corporations are challenging social and environmental policy, creating new corporate rights but no responsibilities.

Recent trade challenges include lawsuits by a Swedish nuclear power producer against Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown; a $2 billion lawsuit by US tobacco giant Philip Morris against Uruguay for their requirement that cigarettes are sold in plain packaging, which has already resulted in a weakening of the regulations; and a $250 million lawsuit against Quebec’s moratorium on fracking under their principal waterway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, by a fracking company incorporated in the US but with all of its operations in Canada. Over 500 dispute settlement claims have been filed and the number is growing rapidly.

To worsen matters, language has been proposed for these new trade agreements that would require any government regulation pass a “necessity test,” outlawing any regulation that is “more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of the service.”

As Governor Inslee pointed out in his letter, “States maintain many nondiscriminatory regulations to advance important policy objectives that are not related to the quality of service at issue, including those related to environmental protection, land use, labor standards, fair competition and economic development. U.S. law generally permits states to pass nondiscriminatory rules related to such considerations that may burden economic transactions, as long as a rational basis for these rules can be demonstrated. Adopting a necessity test could alter this basic principle and improperly replace it with a standard less deferential to state authority.” (Emphasis added)

 

***

Recent opposition to ISDS comes from the libertarian Cato Institute and hundreds of organizations representing civil society in the US and in Europe.

Read letter from Governor Jay Inslee.

See full Washington Fair Trade Coalition Press Release.

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The Battle for Seattle, the Battle for the World

Read our collection of reflections by local leaders and organizers, Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Legacy of the Battle for Seattle.

15 years ago on November 30, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life converged on the streets of Seattle and took a stand against the WTO. Unions, environmentalists, faith-based groups, students, stood together to proclaim: trade affects us all, and it should not benefit the rich at the expense of working families, the poor, and the planet.

Today, once again, millions are raising their voices with the same message as neoliberal NAFTA-style trade models proliferate around the globe. Can we bring the spirit of the WTO protests — unity, urgency, people power — to finally demand that space be given for the creation of a new model of trade?

Join Washington Fair Trade Coalition and our allies at a series of events this November looking at the legacy of the WTO protests and how we can continue to carry the banner in the face of massive, secret, corporate-negotiated agreements like the TPP, TTIP, and TISA.

November 19, 7:30 AM to 9 AM,
IAM 751 District Lodge, Seattle
Sponsor: Washington Fair Trade Coalition

 

 

WTO Panel
November 20, 12 – 1 PM, Seattle
The Battle in Seattle: 15 Years after the WTO Protests
Seattle Central, Room 1110
Sponsor: Seattle Central Community College

 

November 21, 7-9 PM, Olympia
Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Cooperation at the WTO in Seattle/ And Looking Forward! Forming a Thurston Blue-Green Alliance.
at The Mark, Olympia
Sponsors: Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) Local 443, WFSE Local 872, and the Thurston Lewis, Mason County Central Labor Council

 

CAGJ WTO Screening
November 30, 2:30 – 6:30, Seattle
This is What Democracy Looks Like (Screening, Q&A with Director, Happy Hour)
at Central Cinema, Seattle
Sponsors: Community Alliance for Global Justice, Central Cinema, Washington Fair Trade Coalition

December 2, 3:30 – 6, Seattle

Militarized Policing and Public Protest: From the WTO Protests to Ferguson (Panel with Norm Stamper, Tyler Weaver, Robbie Stern)
at Unity Suite of the Ethnic Cultural Center, 3931 Brooklyn Ave NE
Sponsors: Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, Law Societies and Justice Program of UW

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