New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), UFCW Local 1262 President Harvey Whille, and labor and community leaders from across northern New Jersey held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the many negative consequences for communities and working families that will result if the president’s Fast Track trade negotiating power is renewed.
Fast Track gives the president too much power to negotiate global trade deals with countries that do not share our labor and safety standards, respect our laws or honor workers’ rights. Past global trade deals granted under Fast Track have resulted in shrinking job opportunities and mushrooming trade deficits. The Senate passed the bill; its fate now rests with the House, which is expected to consider it in June.
“How many times do we have to go down the same road of enacting trade deals that benefit international corporations while hurting working families,” Wowkanech said. “We support global trade deals that are open and transparent and that create good jobs here at home. Fast Track would do the opposite, continuing to squeeze working families across America.”
Pascrell, who has faithfully stood with labor and bucked the president on Fast Track, has been on the front lines of this fight in Congress.
“As a lifelong Patersonian, I witnessed firsthand the devastating impact past trade deals had on manufacturing in the Silk City, the birthplace of America's industrial revolution,” Pascrell said. “Simply stated, this Fast Track bill would revive the same failed process that led to disastrous free-trade agreements in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, as drafted, will hurt American workers and continue the trend of corporations offshoring jobs and driving down wages.”
“We need to redouble all of our efforts to fight this deal to make sure American workers are helped, not harmed, in any trade agreement,” Pascrell added. “I stand arm in arm with New Jersey labor in opposing this misguided legislation.”
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO, along with its dedicated affiliates and the national AFL-CIO, will continue to lead as the Fast Track fight goes to the wire.