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New AFL-CIO Trade Video Warns That TPP Would Double Down on NAFTA’s Economic Devastation

“We can’t have another NAFTA. There’s too much at risk. It’s too important. What happens if TPP passes? There will be another generation of people that can’t find work.”

(Washington, DC) – Today, the AFL-CIO released a video showing first-hand the devastating economic impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could have on communities across the country.

Last week United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard testified at a USTR hearing examining overcapacity in the global steel market and its impact on U.S. steelmakers. There is evidence that foreign governments are subsidizing cheap steel and selling it in the U.S. at unfairly low prices. Countries are able to dump their cheap steel in U.S. markets because they are undervaluing their currency when setting prices.

“Currency manipulation is at the heart of this issue, and the passage of the TPP – which doesn’t address this global problem – could kill American manufacturing for good,” said Gerard. Like NAFTA, it offers no protection for American manufacturing or American workers. U.S. trade policy has not worked for working people or our communities which has led to broad opposition to the TPP. It must be defeated.”

“We know the TPP is a job killer.” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Our trade agreements should help to create good jobs in America, and enable regular working people to succeed by working hard to get ahead. The TPP fails this goal miserably.”

“I’ve seen too many people have their lives destroyed because the jobs went away,” said Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Council Member Dewitt Walton. “We can’t have another NAFTA. There’s too much at risk. It’s too important. What happens if TPP passes? There will be another generation of people that can’t find work.”

Allegheny County which is featured in the video is one of hundreds of local and state governments that have passed or introduced resolutions opposing TPP.

This video is the second in a series examining the real human impact of trade agreements like the TPP. Watch the first video on how the TPP could put the lives of cancer patients in danger.

Labor Praises Supreme Court Ruling On ‘Friedrichs’ And Offer A Warning For The Future

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

Today, the assault on working families came to an abrupt halt as we received news that the Supreme Court could not come to a decision in the Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. The court ended in a 4-4 tie. This means that the California Supreme Court decision to uphold agency fees will stand.

After the decision labor groups across the country rejoiced and applauded the decision that could have made it illegal to charge non union member an agency fee, essential pushing Right To Work nationwide without legislative approval.

“Today, working people have persevered in the face of another attack on our rights,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “All over the country working people are showing that we won’t allow wealthy special interests or their politicians to stand in our way to join collectively and make workplaces better all across America. In the face of these attacks we are more committed than ever to ensuring that everyone has the right to speak up together for a better life.”

“At the Supreme Court today, working people won a huge victory,” wrote Rudy Lopez, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “Fighting back against powerful anti-worker interests that spent millions of dollars and many years to manufacture a Supreme Court challenge of collective bargaining, workers stuck together and prevailed, defending the right of unions to collect dues to all who benefit from its membership.”

“But while today’s victory is a milestone for working people and their right to collectively bargain, the fight for worker justice is far from over,” added Lopez. “The Freidrichs case was a carefully planned campaign to break unions and decentralize worker power and the wealthy interests behind it are not going to simply give up because they lost today.”

“Today’s Friedrichs decision by the Supreme Court was a big win for anyone who believes in the promise of America,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “Unions are about giving workers and their families a voice on the job and a fair shot to get ahead, and today’s decision enables those aspirations. And as the Center for Individual Rights’ legal maneuver this afternoon suggests, this decision, affirming four decades of precedent, was a blow to the right-wing special interests who are trying to rig the economy and our democracy in their own favor.”

“It’s no surprise that the Center for Individual Rights is continuing its assault on working people and the unions that represent them. By refusing to accept the court’s ruling and petitioning for a rehearing, they expose their agenda for what it is—a brazen political assault on working people. This Koch-backed think tank plotted to fast-track this case to the Supreme Court, and we know the wealthy few behind these efforts will continue doing everything they can to undermine the voice of working people in America,” added Weingarten.

Public sector workers will continue to benefit from the collective voice of union representation under a decision by the Supreme Court today that affirms nearly 40 years of constitutional law, the head of the largest federal employee union said today.

“The Supreme Court has kept in place a 1977 ruling that ensures public sector employee unions will be able to continue fighting for better pay, benefits, and working conditions for all represented workers, whether or not they choose to join the union,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

“When the union negotiates a contract for workers, everyone who’s covered by that contract takes home higher pay and benefits, has greater job security, enjoys improved health and safety standards, and gets help in settling workplace disputes. It is only fair that all employees share in the cost of securing those benefits,” added Cox.

“A decision by the Supreme Court to overturn its 1977 ruling would have made it grossly unfair to place the burden of paying for the level of representation that all employees need and deserve on only some public employees as opposed to asking each to pay a fair share,” concluded Cox.

“Today’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case safeguards, at least for now, the right of public workers to engage in meaningful collective bargaining,” wrote the Communication Workers of America.

CWA highlighted the connection between Friedrichs and the union busting, anti-worker firms that have been pushing Right to Work in states all across the country.

“The case had been financed by anti-worker and corporate education supporters who have been working for years to stifle the voices of teachers and other public workers and weaken their collective bargaining rights. It clearly shows how extreme the right-wing assault on workers and their right to bargain, whether public or private sector, has become,” stated CWA.

For many years now CWA has been on the front lines fighting to end the obstructionism in Washington, specifically the US Senate. They used the considerable influence and membership to help secure five members to the National Labor Relations Board as well as worked to change the “filibuster rule” that Senate Republicans used to block every major Presidential nominee in the past few years.

Now they are calling out the Senate and the same right-wing, anti-worker organizations that are holding up hearings to replace Justice Scalia in the Supreme Court.

“These same right-wing interests want to block any consideration of President Obama’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s time for senators to do their job and take up the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, not continue the “politics as usual” that ignores the voice of the American people,” CWA said.

There is no doubt this decision will have an impact on the upcoming elections as Republicans in the Senate are continuing to refuse to even meet with Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision on the Friedrichs case is no doubt an important win for organized labor,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President Kenneth Rigmaiden.  “However, it should also serve as a significant wake up call for working families who are not convinced that their vote in the political process matters in this upcoming election.”

“Anti-union special interests succeeded in bringing their tactics to the Supreme Court in an effort to stop workers from deciding their collective fate on the job by a vote.  We won this one, but the fight is far from over.  It is time to get to work on putting pro-union candidates in local, state and federal offices.  The leaders we successfully fight for on the campaign trail will be our line of defense in Washington to keep our unions strong,” added Rigmaiden.

As Republicans continue to obstruct filling the vacant seat in the Supreme Court, this election is proving to be the most important in history. This election could be the difference between a progressive Justice like Merrick Garland or another right-wing ideolog like Justice Scalia. As more and more attacks to our collective bargaining rights make it to the Supreme Court confirming a nominee that will uphold our rights is of the utmost importance.

AFL-CIO Urges Administration to Finalize Long-Overdue Worker Protections

AFL-CIO_Headquarters_by_Matthew_Bisanz2Silica, Overtime, Persuader and Fiduciary Rules Will Strengthen Protections for Working Families

(Washington, DC, March 17, 2016) – Following the U.S. Department of Labor sending the much needed overtime rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the AFL-CIO renewed its call for final action on these worker protections to improve the lives of working people across the country. These regulations include rules on fiduciary responsibility, silica and the persuader rule.

“President Obama recognizes that the current rules are out of date and too weak to protect working men and women, so we are pleased that these improvements are moving forward,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “These worker protections have been decades in the making. It’s time to push these rules over the finish line so these important protections are finally cemented into place.”

The extension of overtime protections will get America’s working people one step closer to receiving their rightfully earned overtime pay. The current provisions are outdated and exclude protections for too many working people. The overtime threshold would be increased, extending protections to millions of people and providing a boost to the economy.

The new OSHA regulation on silica dust, a fine particle that is at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand and that causes silicosis, would save 700 lives each year and prevent 1,700 new cases of silicosis—a deadly condition that affects the lungs. Exposure to silica dust can occur when working with stone, concrete, brick, industrial sand and mortar.

The new persuader rule closes the loophole that allows employers and management consultants to avoid public disclosure when employers hire outside union-busters during an organizing drive. These firms hide behind a loophole to avoid disclosure even when they are creating anti-union propaganda such as fliers and videos.  

“We commend the Administration for moving the overtime protections bill to OMB and urge the Administration to finish its work on these critical worker protections,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Investing in the Care Economy: A Pathway to Growth

A new study released today by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) shows that investment into the care economy of 2% of GDP in just 7 countries would create over 21 million jobs and help countries overcome the twin challenges of ageing populations and economic stagnation. 

http://www.ituc-csi.org/CareJobs
 Care economy

The report which analyzed the employment growth potential in the care economy in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, also demonstrates how investing in care narrows the gender pay gap, reduces overall inequality and helps redress the exclusion of women from decent jobs. The G20 has set a target to increase women’s participation in the workforce by 25% in the coming years. This can only be achieved when the care sector is properly funded. 

The report cites additional evidence from South Africa and Turkey showing that the economic stimulus from care investment is not limited to the world’s richest countries. 

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “This study shows how sustained investment in care is not only vital to societies, it also provides an indispensable motor for economic growth and an antidote to the destructive impact of failed austerity policies. Most of the burden of service cuts has been borne by women, which has in turn depressed household incomes at a time when boosting purchasing power and economic demand is crucial to restoring global prosperity. The care sector itself has high rates of precarious work and low pay, and it is essential that workers in this sector have the full protection of labour legislation in line with international standards.” 

Economists from the Women’s Budget Group carried out advanced modelling of the employment impact of investing the equivalent of 2% of GDP into the “social infrastructure” of education, health and social care services. They found that: 

  • It would increase overall employment by between 2,4% and 6.1% depending on the country;
  • between 59% and 70% of the directly-created jobs would be taken up by women; and,
  • the employment multiplier effect from these new jobs would also increase overall male employment, by between 1.4% and 4% in different countries.

“Some governments have acted to lift investment in physical infrastructure projects, to stimulate growth and overcome decades of underinvestment. We now have clear empirical evidence of the economic and social benefits of investing in care as well. Governments should look to this rather than sticking with an austerity agenda which was based on deeply flawed analysis from the outset,” said Burrow.

The evidence in the report shows that investment of 2% of GDP would create:

  •  13 million jobs in the USA
  • 3.5 million jobs in Japan
  • 2 million jobs in Germany
  • 1.5 million jobs in the UK
  • 1 million jobs in Italy
  • 600,000 jobs in Australia
  • 120,000 jobs in Denmark.

“Cuts in public care services have had a double impact on women. They are finding it harder to get decent jobs, and in most countries the pressure on social investment means that it is mainly women who end up filling the gap as unpaid carers. This in turn keeps them out of the paid workforce for even longer and pulls apart the fabric of households and communities. Our new study confirms that the right kind of investment can turn this social crisis around, and we call on governments to take up the challenge and break from their obsession with simply keeping the financial sector happy. The evidence from these seven countries reinforces the huge jobs and growth potential in the care economy worldwide,” concluded Burrow.

 

The ITUC represents 180 million workers in 162 countries and territories and has 333 national affiliates.

On International Women’s Day, AFL-CIO Talks Of How TPP Will Negatively Impact Women

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler Highlights TPP’s Negative Impact on Women 

AFL-CIO Releases Fact Sheet on International Women’s Day 

Women and TPP(Washington, DC, March 8, 2016) – On a press call in honor of International Women’s Day, Liz Shuler, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer and Thea Lee, AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff, discussed the negative impact the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will have on women across the world.

“This International Women’s Day, the labor movement recognizes that while women in the workplace have gained a great deal, the harsh reality is too many of us continue to struggle when we shouldn’t have to,” said Shuler. “The bad policies of the TPP are another corporate attack on women and we will continue to fight for policies that lift all women up and recognize the immense contributions we make to the economy.”

“There is no question that flawed trade agreements and policies have cost America’s working women good jobs and have contributed to stagnant wages and growing inequality,” said Lee. “We need to address unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, illegal subsidies and workers’ rights violations and must defeat TPP so we do not accelerate the race to the bottom that benefits global corporations.”

Read the fact sheet: Bad Trade Deals and Their Impact on Women Globally
Lower Wages, Reduced Access to Lifesaving Healthcare and Human Trafficking

Transportation Unions’ Agenda Focuses on Job Creation, Safety and Appropriations

Unions begin preparations for the 2016 Presidential election

San Diego, CA — Transportation unions took aim at critical transportation appropriations battles pending in Washington and continued preparations to show their members and the public the stark choices voters will face in the presidential election.

“We are committed to countering the dangerous austerity agenda in certain corners of Congress that threatens to starve job creation investments in transportation,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), following the winter meeting of the organization’s 32-member Executive Committee, held yesterday. “We will also focus on critical safety issues plaguing our sector and fighting corporate efforts to weaken the job security and collective bargaining rights of transportation workers.”

Executive Committee members discussed their priorities with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), the lead Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Charlie Cook, political analyst and editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report, provided a snapshot on the state of the presidential race and key U.S. Senate contests. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka held a roundtable with transportation union leaders that focused on pending policy priorities and collective bargaining battles in 2016.

Transportation unions put their weight behind legislation that imposes stiffer criminal penalties on anyone who assaults airline customer service representatives.

“We have seen an increase in attacks on gate and ticket agents – it is time for Congress and the airline companies to better protect these employees,” Wytkind said.

TTD affiliates joined the growing chorus of opposition to Canadian Pacific’s attempted hostile takeover of Norfolk Southern, citing “the devastating impact these transactions can have on jobs, freight service and safety.”

While praising Congress for boosting authorized funding levels for the Maritime Security Program (MSP), which provides vital sealift capacity to the Department of Defense, the Executive Committee vowed to push congressional appropriators and the Obama Administration to fully fund the program.

“Funding MSP is vital to national security and it supports middle class U.S. mariner jobs,” Wytkind said.

Transportation union leaders also condemned underhanded attacks — disguised as measures to monitor the productivity of U.S. ports — on the rights of longshore workers to bargain for job security, and good wages and benefits.

“We will not let the world’s largest retailers and their army of lobbyists eviscerate the bargaining rights of the men and women in our ports,” Wytkind said.

The Executive Committee called for immediate funding of the federal-state compact to build-out the Gateway Project. That project will fix a transportation crisis on the Northeast Corridor that promises to “reverberate across the entire economy” if Amtrak is forced to start shutting down century-old tunnels or severely deteriorated bridges in a region that supports 30 percent of the nation’s jobs.

Transportation unions also urged Congress to ensure that measures to boost aviation security strike the appropriate balance between protecting against terrorist threats and honoring the “legitimate rights of employees.”

Transportation unions focused on the upcoming presidential election with an agreement to work together in rolling out the views and records of the Republican and Democratic nominee for president.

“We are already seeing in this race a contest between candidates who want to massively rebuild our transportation system and expand our middle class, and those who will likely pursue a dangerous austerity agenda tantamount to economic retreat,” Wytkind added.


The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, provides a bold voice for workers in every mode of transportation devoted to protecting middle-class jobs, expanding collective bargaining, and ensuring modern, safe, and secure transportation operations and infrastructure. For more information, visit us at www.ttd.org.

Trumka To Senate Republicans: Do Your Job

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has some harsh words for Republicans who have vowed to obstruct the Constitution and block any Supreme Court nomination by President Obama until after the 2016 Presidential Election.

“The Supreme Court is not a game and the Constitution is not a toy,” stated Trumka in a press release earlier this week.

Trumka continued, “The stated intent of Senate Republican leaders to refuse consideration of a Supreme Court nominee is an appalling breach of their constitutional responsibilities.”

“At this time Republican leaders in and out of the Senate must act as U.S. leaders, regardless of party affiliation. The American people do not want them to politicize such a vital responsibility. They want them to carry out their constitutional duty to their country.”

In the video Trumka says it is time for Republicans to “Do Your Job.”

“We don’t just do the parts of the job that we like. Or only work with people we like.  Or choose when to show up on the job.”

Failure to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice could send the national into legal chaos. If the Supreme Court ends up in a deadlocked tie, 4-4, then the lower courts ruling would stand.  In the case of Friedrichs v California Teachers Association this would mean that the California Supreme Court ruling against Friedrichs would stand.

The same thing could happen if the court ends in a tie over the constitutionality of President Obama’s Executive Order stopping deportations, the Texas Supreme Court unconstitutional ruling would stand.

The chaos comes when two different lower court districts have challenged the same law and has resulted in two different rulings.  This would mean that what is constitutional in California would be deemed unconstitutional in Texas.

We need to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of Antonin Scalia as soon as possible. The US Senate has a duty to vet nominees quickly so the Supreme Court can do it’s job.

It is time for the Senate to #DoYourJob.

 

No Presidential Endorsements To Come From AFL-CIO Winter Meeting

Today the AFL-CIO announced that the national Executive Council will be holding their winter meeting next week.  Many people have anxiously been awaiting this meeting because the Executive Council would have to meet to make a formal endorsement in the presidential primary.

It is pretty much a given that the AFL-CIO will eventually endorse a Democrat in the Presidential primary as all of the GOP candidates have strong anti-labor agendas.

Throughout this primary labor has been divided between Sec. Clinton and Sen. Sanders.  Many of the national organization have come out in support of Clinton, while locals have bucked the system and endorsed Sanders.

Clinton far out numbers Sanders in union endorsements but many organizations are waiting in the wings for the AFL-CIO to make their official announcement.

The AFL-CIO quickly squashed any thought of the Exective Council making any official announcements.

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka On Executive Council and Endorsement:

The AFL-CIO is committed to a Raising Wages agenda, and to using that agenda to drive our politics. 

Our Executive Council will discuss the 2016 election cycle during its Winter Meeting, but no presidential endorsement will be made.  From the very start of the presidential contest, we have been clear that we have an endorsement process in place, and that we will continue to follow that process in accordance with our Constitution.

Most importantly, we will further elevate the Raising Wages agenda and hold all politicians accountable to it.

We also continue to encourage affiliated unions to pursue their own deliberations with their members and come to their own endorsement decisions, if any, through open and rigorous debate.  Many unions have endorsed a candidate, and many have not.

Our country is engaged in a vigorous national debate about our next president, and we look forward to a robust discussion of the issues at our Council meeting.

Who knows how much longer the AFL-CIO will wait to make their official endorsement.

Is The TPP Really A Gold Standard For Workers Throughout The World?

The AFL-CIO released a new report highlighting the failures of current trade agreements and their ability to enforce worldwide labor standards.

 

Screen Shot of AFLCIO Report“Calling the TPP’s labor rights provisions a gold standard is a mirage,” said Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO Trade Policy Specialist, while on a nation wide conference call today. “We know from experience that the discretionary dispute settlement model does not work for vulnerable workers, and the highly touted ‘new’ labor provisions do not provide meaningful new protections for abused and exploited workers.”

Celeste Drake and Cathy Feingold, AFL-CIO Director of International Affairs, hosted the call to announce the release of the AFL-CIO’s blistering new report, to “shed the light on the state of labor rights and commitments among the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) partner countries.”

The report, “A Gold Standard for Workers? The State of Labor Rights in Trans-Pacific Partnership Countries,” talks in depth about the grim condition workers in TPP countries currently face and how the TPP fails to address these concerns in the new trade agreement.

Many of the countries involved in the TPP are currently known offenders of labor rights. Many are already “out of compliance” with current trade agreements. This brings even greater concern to enforceability of the new trade deal.

“The United States seeks to enter into the TPP with a number of Pacific Rim nations with troubling anti-worker practices. US Trade Representative gave away crucial negotiating leverage by not insisting that trade benefits be contingent on adherence and promotion of the core labor standards. To let the TPP enter into force without full compliance with all labor commitments from all 12 countries undermines the entire agreement,” wrote the AFL-CIO in their report.

TPP Countries from AFLCIO ReportFeingold also talked about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit that President Obama is hosting and the TPP implications.

“The consistency plans fall woefully short of ensuring that all 12 TPP countries will be in full compliance with the TPP’s labor standard on Day One of the agreement,” said Feingold. “Vietnam will get a five-year free pass to deny freedom of association and there is no plan for Mexico at all. This problem would be compounded if countries such as Thailand and Cambodia join the TPP without first affording all of their workers fundamental worker rights and acceptable conditions of work.”

The AFL-CIO report focused a bright light on the anti-worker, anti-labor atrocities in these TPP nations but is willing to work with Congress to fix them now and for future trade agreements.

“The AFL-CIO urges Congress to only support a people-centered trade approach that will guarantee the benefits of trade can improve the working and living lives of millions of workers and their families in the United States and throughout TPP countries. Further, we stand ready to work with Congress and the administration to renegotiate the TPP so that it works for people who work.”

One Million Anti-TPP Petitions Delivered to Congress


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TPP Signing in New Zealand Overshadowed by U.S. Presidential Candidate, Congressional Opposition

U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tulsi Gabbard, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Sierra Club, MoveOn, CREDO and Other Online Activist Groups Kick Off TPP Protest Activities

Washington, D.C. – As representatives of the TPP countries meet in New Zealand to officially sign the trade deal, its prospects of going into effect remain uncertain at best. The pact does not enjoy majority support in Congress, and changes that some members are demanding are strongly opposed by other TPP nations. No U.S. presidential candidate polling over five percent in any state supports the deal. At a press conference today, speakers addressed the failings of the TPP, and the political environment surrounding the deal.

“The American people have been left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the beginning and the results show. From an ISDS process that allows foreign corporations to overrule our domestic rule of law, to unenforceable labor and environmental protections, to no protections against currency manipulation, this deal helps the corporate class while selling out working Americans and their families. The American people deserve a better future that empowers our middle class and domestic economy; that protects people and our planet,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02).

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Richard Trumka and Rep Rosa DeLauro

“The TPP agreement is toxic, and the American people are not buying it,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Working people are determined to end the era of corporate trade deals that lower our wages and kill our jobs. To all those on the ballot in 2016, we have a simple message: either you’re with us or against us.”

Debbie Sease, Senior Lobbying and Advocacy Director, Sierra Club, had the following to say at the event, “Signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership puts our economy and our climate on the line. Congress should reject the toxic trade deal and build a new model of trade that puts the health and safety of people before the profits of big polluters.” 

Also at the event, the following national on-line activist organizations delivered to Congress more than a million signatures on anti-TPP petitions: Avaaz (http://bit.ly/1o36deO), CREDO (http://bit.ly/20n5iHA), Care2 (http://bit.ly/1VHxoGD), Corporate Accountability International (http://bit.ly/1KUEP7I), Fight for the Future, Public Citizen, MoveOn, SumOfUs (http://bit.ly/1Qa21R6), and the Sierra Club (http://bit.ly/20Eyab0).

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a corporate giveaway that’s bad for consumers, workers, and the environment. We don’t need our elected leaders to hand multinational corporations even more power over our daily lives. That’s why hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members have fought against the TPP and other deals like it over the years—and why we’ll fight it in Congress this spring,” said Ben Wikler, Washington Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action who spoke at the event. 

“Time and time again CREDO’s 3.9 million activists have demonstrated their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other job-killing trade deals,” said Murshed Zaheed, CREDO’s Deputy Political Director. “The TPP is a massive giveaway to big corporations that will erode environmental, labor, and intellectual property standards and we are 100 percent dedicated to defeating it in Congress,” Zaheed continued. Since 2013, CREDO has generated more than  one million petition signatures and 40,000 phone calls in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.  

In 30 locations nationwide, activists are holding protests against the TPP to oppose the signing and energize local opposition organizing. TPP signing-day rallies are also occurring in Auckland, New Zealand and capitals of other TPP signatory nations.

“The TPP is a dream come true for the Monsantos of the world, but for regular people it will be a disaster — a tool for big business to attack our public health, internet freedom, and the rule of law,” said Joseph Huff-Hannon with Avaaz. “That’s why more than 860,000 Avaaz members are calling on Congress to reject this corporate giveaway.” 

Corporate Accountability International representative Cloe Franko had the following to say about their actions around TPP: “This corporate-driven trade deal not only fails people and the environment, it represents an enormous threat to the democracy and sovereignty of all twelve nations involved. Negotiated in secrecy behind closed doors, this deal is poised to rewrite trade rules in the name of corporate profits. With allegations of corruption of one of the lead negotiators now calling into question the integrity of the entire TPP, Congress must heed the demands of the people rallying here today and the millions more around the world opposed to this agreement and reject it when it’s up for approval.”

Care2, who also participated in today’s event, said that their members tend to be the most concerned about ISDS and the lack of enforcement for the wildlife and environmental protections in the TPP. “The TPP was negotiated in secret for seven years with very little congressional oversight, but a lot of corporate influence. As a result, we now have a trade deal that would allow corporations to sue the U.S. government. We have a deal that has sold out environmental and wildlife protections, food safety, and human rights. We have a deal that will turn democracy as we know it up-side-down. And that is why over 135,000 Care2 members are demanding that Congress vote ‘no’ on the TPP. We will never support a trade agreement that attacks everything we care about and have fought to protect,” said Lacey Kohlmoos, Care2 Online Organizing Strategist.

“The TPP signing today is largely theater. Everyone knows the real fight here will be in Congress, where this unpopular and anti-democratic deal faces fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle. A massive coalition of activists are gearing up to fight the TPP. Once we’ done with it, secret trade deals will be as politically toxic in DC as SOPA after the Internet Blackout,” said Evan Greer, campaign director, Fight for the Future.

And finally, Ledys Sanjuan, Senior Campaigner at SumOfUs.org, concluded “The TPP is one of the largest corporate power grabs we’ve seen. Not only will it cost hundreds and thousands of US jobs but it will significantly reduce internet freedom and give power to corporations to sue our governments for regulating them. We need to come together and stop our governments from ratifying this dangerous trade deal.”  

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