USW Condemns House of Representatives’ Exploitation of Firefighters to Pass Fast Track

Contacts: Gary Hubbard, 202-256-8125, ghubbard@usw.org
                  Wayne Ranick 412-562-2444, wranick@usw.org

(Pittsburgh)  -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement today after the U.S. House passed by a vote of 218-208 Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) better known as fast track. The House Republican leadership used a non-controversial measure to protect the pension benefits of federal law enforcement and emergency responders as a vehicle to pass fast track and send it to the Senate. The vote to pass fast track was largely along party lines.  Only 28 Democrats voted for the measure along with 190 Republicans.

“It’s clear that the Republican leadership will do anything to grease the wheels for job-killing trade agreements.  Today, in order to pass legislation through the House, they loaded fast track onto a bill to ensure the integrity of pensions for firefighters.

“This non-controversial bill was designed to secure the retirement benefits of first responders, not pit workers against workers, but that’s exactly what the House forced today. Yet even the International Association of Firefighters opposed this ‘desperate effort to pass TPA,’ noting that its members are being ‘politically exploited.’

“It appears that Republicans will stop at nothing to increase corporate profits at the expense of domestic production and American jobs.

“Last week, the House of Representatives defeated fast track. But it’s clear that the fight for trade policies that put people first is far from over, because proponents of Fast Track will use any trick to advance their job offshoring, outsourcing agenda.

“Today they may have advanced their policies, but USW members will never give up the fight for a real 21st century trade policy that promotes more jobs, higher wages and reduced income inequality.

 “The USW acknowledges those members of the House who stood strong with labor and working Americans.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

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Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

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Gary Hubbard at 202-778-4384

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Editor Jim McKay

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