CWA Statement on Senate Cloture Vote on Fast Track Trade Authority

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, a majority of Republicans and 13 Democratic senators showed beyond doubt that they’re on the side of the 1 percent, not ordinary Americans, not working families and not U.S. communities.

These Senators caved to corporate interests that want access to poverty wages in Vietnam and the ability to challenge any U.S. laws they believe will get in the way of “future expected profits.” No surprise, a deal that corporations want so badly is fast tracked, because they spent millions of dollars to make it happen. But issues that affect ordinary Americans, like investment in our country’s roads and transportation, an increase in the minimum wage or some real attention to climate change, just get shoved aside.

These Senators have misjudged the voice and will of the American people. A broad coalition of millions of Americans has been telling their senators and representatives for many months that Fast Track is a betrayal of U.S. workers, communities and law. 

As this deal moves forward, we will continue to remind President Obama of his promise that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is different and will benefit working families and improve environmental standards. In fact, the Obama administration can start today to show how different this trade policy is by demanding justice for the murder of a union leader in Honduras just last week. That alone will be a big change from the US Trade Representative’s contention that the murder of union activists in Colombia is not an unfair trade practice.  

"Our coalition of millions of Americans, from labor to environmentalists, community organizations, immigrants’ rights, and faith based groups will continue to fight for 21st century trade where citizen rights, not just corporate rights, count.  Last week Honduran trade union leader Hector Motino was murdered as he drove home from work.  I had met Hector in Honduras and heard about the death threats he faced and the 200 human rights activists who were murdered in Honduras since the labor movement filed a complaint under the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).  We will hold our government and the US Trade Representative responsible for real enforcement of the human rights provisions of these agreements both in the US and with our so-called partners.  We will demand real change, not just text that cannot be enforced," said former CWA president Larry Cohen who continues to help lead the fair trade coalition.

CWA President Chris Shelton said, “This vote won’t stop us. CWA members, union members and activists from nearly every progressive group will continue to join together and fight, to build independent political power for working people. We will hold members of Congress accountable for this vote.  We’ll stand with those members of Congress who supported our communities, and for those who opposed the broadest coalition of Americans ever, we will find and support candidates who will stand with working families. That’s how we’ll take on the corporate Democrats who oppose a working family agenda.”

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