PITTSBURGH, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement today in anticipation of trade bill votes by the U.S. House that include fast track trade negotiating authority.
"As the potential vote on fast track trade authority approaches, proponents are engaging in last-ditch vote selling, vote trading and outright dishonesty. Proponents are doing everything they can to try and distract attention away from the devastating impact today's trade policies have had on working people across this great country. The fast track bill will only fuel more of the same.
"There's a reason the Obama Administration has not made the trade deal public. At this point, it is far from the type of agreement that will make a positive difference in the lives of working people.
"The USW for years has urged that our trade laws be updated to deal with dumping and subsidies of imports. Unfortunately, the USW has often had to bring cases against unfair trade because many of our companies refuse to act and, worse, Administrations ? both Republican and Democratic ? have failed to use their power to initiate cases.
"Changes in our trade laws are needed. The USW supports those changes, but any Member of Congress who thinks a vote for improving our trade laws will offset a "yes" vote on fast track, will hear a different message from their constituents at election time. These are separate and distinct issues.
"The bill that would have leveled the playing field for American workers is now becoming the repository for every possible 'fix' to Fast Track to ensure that Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) passes the House as quickly as possible. The USW wholeheartedly supported the trade law provisions in the Senate-passed Customs Reauthorization bill, as well as the provisions on currency manipulation that would have allowed industry and workers to fight back in a meaningful way.
"In addition, we support the provisions on human trafficking. However, the current list of potential additions to the House bill calls our continued support into question.
"Since NAFTA, workers across this country have called for a new approach to trade that will help foster job creation with good wages. We seek to reverse the tide of unacceptably high, growth-sapping trade deficits that will help reduce rising income inequality.
"Rejecting fast track will send the signal that the status quo is no longer acceptable. Nothing currently being discussed by political leaders as alternatives, or additions to fast track will be satisfactory. American workers deserve better."
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed among industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, plus the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
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