Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Bad Trade

Bad Trade
U.S. jobs lost because of trade deficit with China, 2001-2013, in thousands of jobs (EPI).

Under billions of tons of imports, the American dream is suffocating.

The American people have lost faith. They know that bad trade has bled factories, middle class jobs and wage increases from the country.

A report issued last week by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) details how bad trade has cost Americans hope. And hope is the essence of the American dream, hope for a good, steady job with benefits and a pension, one that supports a family and a home, one that enables the kids to achieve even better lives. Bad trade has battered all of that. And more damage is threatened by pending trade deals and a so-called fast track process to approve them without in-depth deliberation.

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7 Reasons Fast Track Is Off Track

7 Reasons Fast Track Is Off Track

During the secret discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, extreme corporate interests are pushing for a Fast Track process that would not only hurt working families in the United States, but in the other countries involved in any final deal. Here are seven reasons why Fast Track is off track:

1. People oppose it: More than 60% of voters oppose Fast Track for the TPP free trade deal. 

2. It doesn't reflect modern values: Fast Track is a copy of the approach to trade taken by President Richard Nixon, pursuing the passage of trade deals regardless of the effects a deal might have on wages, jobs, small businesses and the environment.

3. It's a job killer: Past trade deals have cost American jobs in large numbers. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement led to the loss of more than 682,000 jobs.

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Chicago Raises Minimum Wage to $13 by 2019, But Strikers Say It’s Not Enough

Will Craft

Will Craft Editorial Intern, In These Times

Chicago Raises Minimum Wage to $13 by 2019, But Strikers Say It’s Not Enough

The Chicago City Council has approved a bill to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2019. The proposal, put forward by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will give Chicago the second highest minimum wage in the nation, behind Seattle’s $15, set to take effect by 2018.

Approved by a vote of 44-5, the vote phases in the increase over the next five years, from the current minimum wage of $8.25 to $10 by July 2015, then $11 by 2017, and $13 by 2019.

The bill comes at a time when minimum wage laws have taken center stage in the ongoing national debate about stagnating wages. American wages have been growing far slower than both productivity and inflation, with low-wage workers earning the lowest effective wages in 50 years.

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Immigrant Groups Warn Fast Track/TPP Could Cause More Migration North

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

On a media call today, several immigrant rights leaders talked about the relationship between “NAFTA-CAFTA-Style” trade deals and the number of people forced to immigrate north to the U.S. They worry that the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will move jobs from Mexico and Central America to lower-wage Asian countries like Vietnam.

Negotiators are in DC this week trying to finalize the TPP, and Congress is currently considering adopting the Fast Track process that essentially passes trade bills before Congress even reads them. In spite of a near-blackout in the U.S. media these negotiations are being met with protests. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are voicing opposition to the Fast Track process, because it involves Congress agreeing to give up its Constitutional responsibility to examine and fix trade deals.

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Union Matters

Limit Imports to Resolve Trade Deficit

Massive flows of imports are destroying U.S. industry and jobs.The first time I heard anyone warn us to control imports was when I was Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President Richard Nixon. The warning came from I.W. Abel, the great President of the AFL-CIO and former President of the United Steelworkers union.

That was almost 40 years ago, yet we haven’t done anything much about imports yet – now running at about $2.3 trillion per year!

Solving this problem by negotiating better trade agreements would take too long, and probably would fail because China, Japan and most other countries won’t cooperate.  What we need to do is act unilaterally to reduce imports until our trade is balanced. With import cuts of only 10% per year, we can balance our trade within three years.

My group, Balanced Trade Associates, has prepared legislation that’s ready to be submitted to Congress. We’ve tried the White House, but they’re impenetrable –didn’t even want to see our proposed bill: “The Balanced Trade Restoration Act of 2014.”

Ken Davis
Stamford, CT

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