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CWA: Secret "Fast Track" Process and Legislation Shows Disdain for U.S. Workers, Communities

Washington, D.C. – The Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued the following statement on the introduction of "fast track," also known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), in the U.S. Senate:

The "Fast Track," or TPA, legislation introduced today, and in fact, the entire process surrounding its inception, continues the lack of transparency and disdain for U.S. workers and communities that has been the hallmark of the past five years of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

If this Fast Track bill were to be approved, Senators and Representatives would be agreeing to rubber stamp not only the TPP, which has been negotiated in almost total secrecy, but any other trade deal proposed over the next few years. President Obama has had Fast Track authority for the Colombia, Panama and Korea trade deals. This proposed legislation provides Fast Track for the next president.

"We need to put the brakes on Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority. Just like the TPP itself, there has been no transparency around TPA. We've had the start of a Senate hearing even before a bill was finalized and introduced. Now, that legislation is headed to mark up and a floor vote in just days. TPA pretends to be about trade, but in reality it is about protecting corporate profits above all else and defining our national security in terms of giving away our jobs, depressing our wages and then rewarding the responsible multinational corporations, often U.S. based, with guaranteed profits in the nations where they invest," said CWA President Larry Cohen.

The proposed Fast Track bill fails all the tests that Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said were critical: Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), transparency, action to combat currency manipulation, real enforcement of environmental and worker standards, and procedures to enable Congress "to right the ship if trade negotiators get off course," as Wyden put it. Since this legislation requires a supermajority, or 60 votes, for the Senate to remove the TPP or any subsequent deal from Fast Track consideration, this provision is virtually meaningless.

The U.S. is the only nation among the 12 TPP countries that requires elected representatives to give up their constitutional responsibility to review and amend major trade deals through a Fast Track process. We call on Congress to reject this flawed legislation.