1.2 million member USW kicks off anti-TPP campaign across North America
TORONTO—The executive board of the United Steelworkers have adopted a formal resolution urging Ottawa and Washington to reject the tentative Trans-Pacific Partnership. The union says the resolution is the precursor for a “fully engaged” TPP rejection campaign that will get underway in both Canada and the U.S.
“The TPP will only continue the failed trade policies of the past that have valued corporate profits, wherever obtained, over the interests of job and opportunity creation here at home. The USW will put every effort into defeating the TPP,” the union said in the resolution.
12 countries representing 40 per cent of the world’s GDP reached the tentative trade agreement in October, but each will now have to sell the agreement to their respective legislature. With so much at stake, debate over the proposed trade deal is expected to be vociferous. Proponents argue the deal will allow freer trade, increased exports and cheaper goods, while detractors say the agreement will hurt domestic industries and workers.
“Our members and all working families in our countries cannot afford more bad trade policies, flawed enforcement and misplaced priorities from which they have suffered for far too long from previous trade deals,” USW’s national director for Canada, Ken Neumann, said.
“Working people need trade policies that lift wages up, rather than pushing them down. We need trade deals that reduce our trade deficits and promote domestic manufacturing and job creation, rather than more outsourcing and offshoring. We need policies that will reverse the widening gap of income inequality,” he added.
Meanwhile, Steelworkers’ international president, Leo Gerard pointed to another concern opponents of the TPP have raised, saying the agreement fails to meet the “high-standards” a 21st century trade agreement should meet in the area of workers’ rights.
“It is not only a missed opportunity, but it limits the ability of workers to share in the very prosperity that they will be working so hard to create for multinational firms through their labour,” he said.
As the ratification process for the TPP swings into gear next year, Ottawa, Washington and governments around the world are certain to see fierce lobbying from a wide range of stakeholders.