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The US International Trade Commission Shows The TPP Is Bad News For Working Families

A New Report From The US International Trade Commission
Shows The TPP Is Not Worth Passing 

ITC-International-Trade-Commission-logoYesterday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released their findings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). To nobody’s surprise the results are not good.

The TPP would not deliver the economic benefits promised by the U.S. Trade Representative. Instead, the report shows that the deal would be disastrous, increasing the U.S. trade deficit by over $21 billion per year and harming employment in key industries.

Basically they found that miniscule gains would be made in most of the sectors of the economy. By miniscule I mean that after 15 years the TPP would increase our GDP by a whopping 0.15%.

Most alarmingly, the ITC report projects that the TPP would increase the U.S. trade deficit in both manufacturing and the services sector. According to the report, once fully implemented, the TPP would decrease manufacturing output by over $11 billion per year and would decrease U.S. employment in manufacturing by 0.2%.  The report also highlights concerns that the TPP would put call center jobs at particular risk of being offshored.

The weak economic projections in the ITC report are especially notable given that ITC’s track record is one of being overly optimistic about the effects of free trade deals on American workers and our economy.

These results are not surprising to many of the labor groups who have been against this multi-national trade agreement since it was announced.

“This ITC report is so damaging that any reasonable observer would have to wonder why the Administration or Congress would spend even one more day trying to turn this disastrous proposal into a reality,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Even though it’s based on unrealistic assumptions, the report could not even produce a positive result for U.S. manufacturing and U.S. workers.”

“One of many shockers is just how meager the purported benefits of the TPP are. A mere .15% of GDP growth over 15 years is laughably small—especially in comparison to what we’re being asked to give up in exchange for locking in a bonanza of rights and privileges for global corporations,” added Trumka.

“Even though the report fails to account for currency manipulation, wage suppression and the negative impacts of uninspected food imports and higher drug costs, the study still projects the TPP will cost manufacturing jobs and exacerbate our trade deficit,” Trumka concluded.

“This report validates that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not worth passing,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard. “This report, as mandated by law, indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.”

Trumka and the AFL-CIO are not alone in their condemnation of this report. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers highlights that includes many of the same provisions, currently in our international trade agreements, that fail to protect basic labor rights.

“The ITC, which historically has overestimated the benefits of trade agreements, predicts that the TPP will increase our nation’s trade deficit in manufacturing. This means that the corporate driven, secretly negotiated TPP will lead to the export of good paying manufacturing jobs to countries like Vietnam that lack basic human rights,” said International President Robert Martinez, Jr., of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM). “For ordinary Americans struggling to get by this will result in more unemployment and continued downward pressure on wages and benefits.”

“The IAM has repeatedly called for the inclusion in the TPP of the International Labor Organization Conventions, which explicitly define basic labor rights. Unfortunately, the TPP labor chapter contains the same ineffectual provisions as in other U.S. trade agreements and fails to provide effective mechanisms to deal with countries lacking fundamental labor rights, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Mexico. That Malaysia, a country cited for human trafficking while focused on rapidly developing its aerospace industry, would be include in the TPP repudiates any notion that the agreement sets a new standard for international labor rights.”

“While the ITC has found that the TPP might increase U.S. GDP by a meager 0.15 percent by 2032, this is of little solace to the working families that will be devastated by the agreement’s numerous flaws. The IAM strongly urges Congress to reject the TPP and focus on a trade policy that benefits America’s working families.”

“The ITC has a long history of being overly optimistic about our trade deals. Yet, even the ITC’s rosy projection paints a picture of the TPP that would be bad for American workers,” said Shane Larson, Legislative Director of the Communications Workers of America (CWA).  “Across the electorate and throughout the country, the public is coming out strongly against the TPP and for good reason. The TPP was based on a trade model that has led to lost manufacturing jobs, lower wages, and increased trade deficits. It’s no surprise that those outcomes are what the TPP will deliver.”

The TPP will be hot button issues during this coming election. We have already seen this in the Presidential primary process. People all across the country are challenging candidates to stand up in opposition to this disastrous trade deal now.

“The American public has made clear its overwhelming opposition to the TPP and the approach to trade it embodies, and now this report makes it even more clear why lawmakers of both parties should stand with the American people and loudly oppose the TPP,” Larson stated.

“This year voters across the country are clearly making trade an issue. Most Washington policymakers and politicians are out of touch with the lives of average Americans. The American public is sick and tired of economists projecting fantasies of prosperity for them when it’s primarily multinational corporations that benefit. On Main Street and in workplaces all across America, working Americans know firsthand the consequences of what economists experience in theory,” added Gerard of the USW.

“But in the end, this may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement. It is clear that the TPP will be DOA if Congress ever decides to bring it up,” Gerard stated.

This report clearly shows that the drawbacks to the TPP far out weight the meager benefits promised the US Trade Representative and the White House.

Under New OSHA Rule, OSHA Will Post Injury And Illness Data From Employers, On Agency’s Website

OSHA-logo

New Rule Takes Effect On Aug. 10th 2016

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a final rule to modernize injury data collection to better inform workers, employers, the public and OSHA about workplace hazards. With this new rule, OSHA is applying the insights of behavioral economics to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries and illnesses.

OSHA requires many employers to keep a record* of injuries and illnesses to help these employers and their employees identify hazards, fix problems and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports more than three million workers suffer a workplace injury or illness every year. Currently, little or no information about worker injuries and illnesses at individual employers is made public or available to OSHA. Under the new rule, employers in high-hazard industries will send OSHA injury and illness data that the employers are already required to collect, for posting on the agency’s website.

Just as public disclosure of their kitchens’ sanitary conditions encourages restaurant owners to improve food safety, OSHA expects that public disclosure of work injury data will encourage employers to increase their efforts to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses.

“Since high injury rates are a sign of poor management, no employer wants to be seen publicly as operating a dangerous workplace,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Our new reporting requirements will ‘nudge’ employers to prevent worker injuries and illnesses to demonstrate to investors, job seekers, customers and the public that they operate safe and well-managed facilities. Access to injury data will also help OSHA better target our compliance assistance and enforcement resources at establishments where workers are at greatest risk, and enable ‘big data’ researchers to apply their skills to making workplaces safer.”

After OSHA announced the rule, Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, released the following statement:

Until now, most workplace injury records have only been available at the workplace, making it impossible to know which employers have bad or good injury records.  Employers in high hazard industries will now have to electronically submit a summary of their firms’ injuries and illnesses to OSHA each year, and large employers will have to submit more detailed injury and illness information.  OSHA, workers and the public will have access to this information.

This new transparency will assist OSHA and workers in identifying hazardous workplaces. In addition, employers will be able to compare their records with other employers in their industry and public health officials and researchers will be able to identify emerging trends. Most importantly, this data will help prevent future injuries, illnesses and deaths.

We are pleased that the new rules also include important protections to ensure that workers can report injuries without fear of retaliation. For far too long, in an effort to keep reported injury rates low, employers have retaliated against workers for reporting injuries, disciplining them for every injury or creating barriers to reporting. Now these violations will be subject to citations and penalties.  With these stronger protections, workers will be more willing to report injuries, which will help with overall prevention.

The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s Acting Executive Director, Jessica Martinez, was also pleased to hear of the rule change stating, “Accurate and timely reporting of on-the-job injuries and illnesses is one of the best tools we have to learn how to make workplaces safer.” 

Martinez continued, “The new OSHA recordkeeping rule, announced today in the Federal Register, is an important step towards transparency. By requiring electronic submissions every quarter and making the data public, this common-sense regulation will help us learn more about how workers are hurt and become sick on the job. 

“The more we know, the more we can do to prevent injuries and illnesses from happening in the first place, with effective safety programs centered on worker participation,” Martinez concluded. 

The availability of this data will enable prospective employees to identify workplaces where their risk of injury is lowest; as a result, employers competing to hire the best workers will make injury prevention a higher priority. Access to this data will also enable employers to benchmark their safety and health performance against industry leaders, to improve their own safety programs.

Using data collected under the new rule, OSHA will create the largest publicly available data set on work injuries and illnesses, enabling researchers to better study injury causation, identify new workplace safety hazards before they become widespread and evaluate the effectiveness of injury and illness prevention activities. OSHA will remove all personally identifiable information associated with the data before it is publicly accessible.

To ensure that the injury data on OSHA logs are accurate and complete, the final rule also promotes an employee’s right to report injuries and illnesses without fear of retaliation, and clarifies that an employer must have a reasonable procedure for reporting work-related injuries that does not discourage employees from reporting. This aspect of the rule targets employer programs and policies that, while nominally promoting safety, have the effect of discouraging workers from reporting injuries and, in turn leading to incomplete or inaccurate records of workplace hazards.

The new requirements take effect Aug. 10, 2016, with phased in data submissions beginning in 2017.

Global Labor Organizations Strategize to Counter Rise of Right-Wing Populism

AFL-CIO, Working America, and Freidrich Ebert Stiftung convene representatives from ten countries for trans-Atlantic discussion on the global rise of right-wing populism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the first convening of its kind, global labor leaders from Europe, the U.S. and Canada met today in Washington, D.C. to discuss the international rise of right-wing populist movements and share best practices for engaging working people against the threat of an anti-worker Right agenda.

Hosted by the AFL-CIO, Working America and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the day-long forum – “Labor, Politics and the Threat from the Right: A Trans-Atlantic Discussion” – brought together union leaders, academics and activists to discuss the role of organized labor in countering the global rise of the radical Right and ensuring that workers’ voices are heard through a progressive counter-narrative. Representatives from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S. convened to discuss innovative strategies for countering the appeal of right-wing rhetoric amongst the global working class.

“Too many politicians in the U.S. and Europe are exploiting our differences and inciting hate and division. Income inequality is a global problem that should unite all leaders; it should not give rise to right wing extremism and building walls. We must come together to focus on common issues like raising wages and creating good jobs.  Political tactics that scapegoat hardworking immigrants and refugees only serve to pit workers against one another, while ignoring the corporate excess that created these problems,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

“Working people everywhere are standing up against this hateful discourse to demand policy proposals that will empower and unite working families,” added Trumka.

Even before Donald Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee, his candidacy was legitimizing a hard-right agenda among working-class voters, similar to the reemergence of right-wing political parties throughout Europe like France’s National Front or the UK Independence Party. International Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow, European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Luca Visentini and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler were among the delegation of leaders gathered to better understand the growing threat of hard-right populist movements and how their rhetoric exploits communities struggling with austerity, economic stagnation, lack of jobs and mass migration.

“Trust in government is broken in too many countries around the world where one in two working families have lost their jobs or have reduced working hours,” said Burrow. “The fear and desperation of working people has been created by a global economic model that is based on corporate greed is simply inequality by design.

“Conversations in communities and workplaces on issues of critical concern for workers and their families are central to building workplace democracies which underpin our economy and society and counter the anxiety for a secure future,” Burrow added.

“In the current political climate, global labor leaders recognize the need to share our unique experiences and effective ways to talk with our members and neighbors about working family issues,” said Working America Executive Director Karen Nussbaum. “Authentic engagement — a trusted messenger offering real solutions and a viable path to change — is a critical, scalable tactic to use against the divisive right-wing politics of scapegoating.”

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.

 

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