Push-back to Pope Francis’ Illustrate Need for TPP and TAFTA Transparency

Hugh J. Campbell

Hugh J. Campbell Philadelphia, Pa., son of a Steelworker

CNBC’s report, Pope's sharp words make a wealthy donor hesitate, highlights the pontiff’s criticism of what he calls "an economy of exclusion and inequality," blaming ideologies that "defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation."

Defense of the marketplace was an aim of the Confidential Memorandum: Attack of American Free Enterprise System sent by Lewis Powell to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Powell listed the pulpit as among the perfectly respectable elements of society attacking the marketplace. His August ,1971 memorandum was keep secret until long after  Powell was confirmed as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, not unlike the secrecy surrounding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Any doubt about the need for transparency in connection with TPP and TAFTA has been dispelled by the current push back to Pope Francis’ remarks. Attempts to get Pope Francis to back down on his assessment of 'tyranny' of unfettered capitalism, 'idolatry of money' in return for donations can only be viewed as pale in comparison to the behind-the-scenes intimidation of governmental officials by Crony Capitalists to reverse over a century of progressive accomplishments.

Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, "The Jungle," depicted poverty, the absence of social programs, unpleasant living and working conditions, and the hopelessness prevalent among the working class, contrasted with the deeply-rooted corruption of people in power. TPP & TAFTA can be best described as “NAFTA on crack,” with the Crony Capitalists feathering their nests at the expense of the underclass.

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Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work