PITTSBURGH, June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement today after the U.S. Senate procedural vote to invoke cloture, paving the way for fast track negotiating authority to be passed and sent to President Obama's desk.
"Today the Senate voted to invoke cloture that set up the passage of fast track trade negotiating authority. This vote applies grease to the wheels for the Administration to rush to complete negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement.
"At the beginning of this process, few of the elite, free trade orthodoxy, expected the President's request for fast track to face the kind of backlash from voters and progressive politicians it has encountered. They assumed that it would pass with little problem.
"Workers calling for fair trade are echoed across the globe. Free trade ideology has met the reality of today's trade system that has left too many behind as corporations and the wealthy have harvested the profits. We need a new approach to trade.
"Our trade negotiators and those from other nations are now on notice that the TPP needs to promote the interests of working families rather than continuing to undermine them. This fight for fair trade is far from over. Progressive forces have new energy from this fight. Our voices will not be muted.
"We appreciate those who voted on behalf of working people calling for a new approach. Their support will not be forgotten. Those who voted to continue the status quo approach will have to live with the results. By ignoring the facts and history, the resulting shuttered factories, devastated communities and Americans who lose their jobs to trade will be their legacy.
"There's a reason that the Administration has cloaked the draft trade agreement in such secrecy: It only continues today's failed approach. Hopefully, they've finally heard the voices of working people and will change the approach. When they finally allow the public to see the agreement, Americans will be able to see what they've done and whether they will, for the first time, be able to benefit from a trade deal.
"Republicans promised that they would consider, and pass, Trade Adjustment Assistance as well as needed reforms to our trade laws. Hopefully, they will keep their word and honor their promises."
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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