Next week, lawmakers are expected to introduce a "fast track" bill intended to speed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal through Congress. It will deny our elected representatives a chance to discuss and improve a dangerous trade deal that could have serious repercussions for workers' rights, and CWA and our allies are determined to stop it.
Fast track – also known as Trade Promotion Authority – threatens to make an already secretive negotiating process among 12 Pacific Rim countries worse. Under fast track, Congress would have just 90 days for an up-or-down vote on the trade deal – without any opportunities for amendments.
Congress's job is to represent the people. And TPP negotiators have already gone to great lengths to limit the general public's knowledge of this far-reaching deal, shutting out labor unions, environmentalists, open internet groups, consumer advocates and many other public interest organizations. Right now, 600 corporate advisors can read and comment on the negotiating texts, while the rest of us can only piece together news from leaked chapters.
What we've discovered is chilling: The TPP would give giant multinational corporations new powers to circumvent important U.S. laws concerning working conditions and workers' rights, the environment, public health and more. It would offshore millions of American jobs and erode wages here at home. It would increase the price of life-saving medicines, make it illegal to unlock your cell phone, roll back Wall Street reforms and expose the U.S. marketplace to unsafe food.
Now is the time to urge our lawmakers to focus on extending the emergency federal unemployment program [see story here] and creating jobs, not passing a trade agreement that will ship jobs overseas. Congress must stand up and oppose fast track before it's too late.
All this month, CWA and allies will leaflet and contact members of Congress. CWAers will be rallying at congressional district offices to tell their lawmakers, "We want fair trade, not free trade. No fast track."
We're also planning a series of webinars about the TPP and fast track for our activists, and holding tele-town halls.
Mark your calendars: January 22 will be a national day of action with our coalition partners to put the pressure on Congress to stop fast track.
Learn more at www.stopthetpp.org.