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