Teamsters Support Sen. Brown's Bill To Reform Trade Policy
Bill Would Restore Oversight to Trade Negotiations, Set Standards
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced the Teamsters Union's support today for legislation by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, that would restore oversight to trade negotiations and ensure that U.S. trading partners play by the same rules.
"The Teamsters have said all along that we're not fighting trade – we are fighting trade that destroys good jobs and lowers standards," Hoffa said to reporters on a press conference call with Brown to announce the 21st Century Trade and Market Access Act.
"We are for trade that creates jobs and improves working conditions. And we are for this bill that would rewrite the rules for global trade to help protect workers everywhere at this critical time for our country. We have to make sure labor rights are not an afterthought, but the first thought."
Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate trade and commerce with foreign nations. But for the past several decades, the legislative branch has delegated to the executive branch the authority to select trading partners, negotiate, and sign new trade deals before voting. Brown's legislation would delegate new authority to the administration to negotiate new trade deals while re-asserting the role of congressional oversight into the substance of negotiations.
"This legislation will help set standards for global trade deals to ensure that they create good jobs and improve working conditions not only at home, but with potential trading partners throughout the world," Hoffa said. "The legislation lays out the foundation of how a trade agreement should be negotiated, providing fair trade with labor standards that workers everywhere deserve."
Today's press conference comes in advance of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which are slated to continue next week in California. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement that would link several countries in North, Central, and South America with countries in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to the United States, the current TPP countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam; Canada, Mexico, and Japan have also announced their intent to join the TPP.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
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