Holden: TPP will devastate U.S. jobs, wages, rights
SEATTLE — The Trans Pacific Partnership will mean lower pay, fewer jobs and greater income inequality for America’s middle class, the president of Machinists Union District 751 said.
“The United States cannot afford another trade agreement that replicates the mistakes of the past,” IAM 751 President Jon Holden said. “TPP will devastate jobs, wages and basic rights for Americans. How many jobs must be lost before we learn?”
Holden delivered the remarks Feb. 3 at a Seattle City Hall rally organized by the Washington Fair Trade Coalition. He was joined by leaders of other labor unions, Seattle City Council members and fair trade activists, who marched from City Hall to the U.S. Federal Building after the rally.
The full text of Holden’s comments are below:
“My name is Jon Holden and I’m here representing the 33,000 Machinists Union members who build the finest airplanes in the world.
“Our products are exported around the world. Our membership relies on trade — but we are strongly opposed to TPP because it has the same problems as previous trade agreements. The only difference is this one is bigger.
“TPP lacks labor, environmental or consumer standards and has no mechanism to enforce laws if violations occur. TPP will allow U.S. corporations to outsource more jobs abroad. TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate laws and regulations that get in the way of their profit.
“One of the most disturbing points of TPP is that big corporations and Wall Street get an international tribunal of private attorneys outside any nation’s legal system that can order compensation for any lost profits that result from a nation’s laws or regulations.
“If any of our existing laws diminish a company’s profits, American taxpayers would have to make up the difference. How will that help America?
“Any claims of protecting workers in this new agreement, are only as good as the willingness of any future administration to file charges and pursue remedies. With no proven method to produce remedies, is there a real way to challenge this?
“TPP was devised in secret with 600 lobbyists from America’s largest corporations and Wall Street’s biggest banks, but not the American public. As a teenager at a previous anti-TPP rally so eloquently noted: You don’t keep something a secret unless you have something to hide — and you sure as heck don’t try to ram it through Congress, when they can’t even amend it, unless it only benefits those who crafted the agreement.
“A proper trade agreement won’t put pressure on U.S. workers to reduce their wages and benefits. TPP will mean lower pay, fewer jobs and greater income in equality for U.S. workers. It is the wrong path for America’s middle class.
“Simply put: The United States cannot afford another trade agreement that replicates the mistakes of the past. TPP will devastate jobs, wages and basic rights for Americans. How many jobs must be lost before we learn?”
Originally formed in 1935 by hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 33,000 working men and woman at 52 employers across Washington and California.
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