By Mickey Kasparian, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135
Mickey Kasparian, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 released the following statement after President Obama’s local news interview regarding Fast Track Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
June 7, 2015 (San Diego) --Instead of talking into a satellite camera, President Obama should listen to the hard-working families of California who overwhelmingly oppose fast track. He says that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is different than past trade agreements that failed a majority of Americans, but thanks to leaked drafts and a negotiation process that included 600 corporate lawyers, it’s apparent that this deal will be a disaster for everyone but the wealthiest corporations.
The level of secrecy that surrounds TPP is deeply troubling. If this deal is truly good for hard-working men and women, then why can’t we read it? If the President believes this is a great deal, why can’t he prove it to us? American workers deserve to see the uncensored truth of this agreement.
We hope that Congressman Scott Peters, Congresswoman Susan Davis, and every other member of the California Congressional Delegation will listen to their constituents and not corporations when it comes to Fast Track. UFCW is over 160,000 members strong across California and none of us plan to rest until this secret, job-killing trade deal is stopped cold.
TPP follows in the footsteps of other free trade agreements like NAFTA that have forced American workers to compete against low-wage labor from around the world. The result has been lost jobs<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/18/business/a-decade-later-loss-of-maytag-factory-still-resonates.html> and ever-increasing income inequality<http://www.wsj.com/articles/oecd-sees-continued-rise-in-growth-harming-inequality-1432198801> in the U.S.
TPP will offshore good-paying jobs to low-wage nations, undercutting working conditions globally and increasing unemployment. According to the Economic Policy Institute<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-gautney/why-the-transpacific-part_1_b_6598604.html>, if the TPP is agreed to, the U.S. will lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone.
TPP will allow big pharmaceutical corporations to extend drug patents, effectively decreasing global access to affordable, life-saving medications. Doctors without Borders stated<http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news-stories/briefing-document/trading-away-health-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tpp> that “the TPP agreement is on track to become the most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines in developing countries.”
TPP will increase the import of goods that often fail to meet U.S. safety standards. The FDA has already prevented hundreds of seafood imports from TPP countries<http://www.citizen.org/documents/fww-tpp-fish-imports-april-2014.pdf> because of salmonella, e-coli, methyl-mercury and drug residues.
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