The International Brotherhood of Teamsters led a coalition of fair trade advocates in helping to gain support for a bipartisan letter from Sen. Al Franken and 23 of his colleagues to President Obama about trade policy. The letter, released yesterday, expresses support for negotiating strengthened labor rights and protections against outsourcing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"We need to get our trade policy right so that it keeps good jobs in America and increases our exports," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multilateral trade agreement among countries that border the Pacific Ocean: Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, the United States and Vietnam. The 15(th) round of negotiations are being held in Auckland, New Zealand, from Dec. 3-12.
"It should be crafted to maximize good job creation and market expansion while minimizing the incentives for further off-shoring of middle class jobs," the letter said.
The letter urged that the deal:
-- Maintains "Buy American" requirements;
-- Requires workers' rights to be protected and enforced;
-- Includes safeguards against incentives for offshoring jobs and currency manipulation;
-- Sets out strong rules of origin for TPP members;
-- Ensures that state-owned and state-supported enterprises operate on a level playing field.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative last month outlining the criteria needed for the Teamsters to support the TPP.
The Teamsters are sending a representative to the New Zealand talks to present the letter along with a strong message that Teamsters in Canada and the U.S. will not support a trade deal that doesn't protect collective bargaining rights.
The 24 Senators who signed the bill are: Al Franken, D-Minn.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct.; Bob Casey, D-Pa.; Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.; Tom Udall, D-N.M.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Olympia Snowe, D-Me.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Jack Reed, D-Mich.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
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