CWA: Secret Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations Will Harm Jobs, Communities, Environment

Progressive groups call on U.S. negotiators to make proposals open to the public, not just Chamber of Commerce lobbyists
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dallas, Texas -- The Trans-Pacific free trade agreement is being negotiated in secret for good reason: for workers, jobs, communities and the environment, it promises only bad news, the Communications Workers of America said.

The TPP as being discussed would be the largest free trade agreement in the history of the U.S. It now includes the U.S., Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Singapore, and Canada, Mexico and Japan also want to join.

What happens if the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement is ratified?  It will put an end to “Buy American” policies and other initiatives to keep good jobs in the U.S. American workers already have seen far too many good jobs go offshore, from millions of manufacturing jobs to at least 500,000 call center jobs that have been offshored from 2006 to 2010.

CWA has been working with progressive partners including the Citizens Trade Campaign and the Sierra Club, calling on U.S. negotiators to make the discussions and proposals available to the public and focusing on the harm this agreement will cause to workers, communities and the environment.

 “It is unacceptable that an agreement with such far reaching implications is being negotiated behind closed doors and in complete secrecy.  The only people with access to texts, in additions to governments involved, are the nearly 600 corporate trade advisers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce can see the texts, but because none of the texts has been released to the public, workers who face the loss of their livelihoods and communities that face economic downturn are denied any input,” said CWA Vice President Claude Cummings.

“Every trade deal has resulted in a loss of jobs for U.S. workers. It’s no surprise that a recent Wall Street Journal poll found 69% of Americans believe that free trade cost jobs. They’re right,” he added.

CWA members and activists will demonstrate against these closed door negotiations on Saturday, May 12, in Addison, Texas, where the negotiations are being held. Tonight, they and Dallas area residents will join a telephone town hall and will hear experts from the Sierra Club, Citizens Trade Campaign and CWA discuss the bad deal and what ordinary people can do to stop TPP.

“We’re deeply concerned that the secrecy around this agreement will lead to the same flawed model of other past trade agreements--with severe negative environmental implications--such as the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA,” said the Sierra Club. 

The Citizens Trade Committee has organized a major petition campaign, with petitions to be presented to U.S. trade negotiators this week in Dallas calling for the public release of all TPP proposals now.  “Americans deserve the right to know what U.S. trade negotiators are proposing in our name,” the petition says.

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Contact: Candice Johnson or Kendra Marr, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168 or cjohnson@cwa-union.org or kmarr@cwa-union.org