Thursday, April 23, 2015

U.S. Trade Rep Says Murdering Union Leaders Not a Violation of U.S. "Trade" Agreements


Operators are standing by: (202) 225-3121.
Seriously. Please call.

by Gaius Publius

You can't make this stuff up; it invents itself faster than you can find and print it. Two quick points, both about TPP and Ron Wyden's Fast Track sell-out.

First, AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka testified before the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to Wyden and Hatch's Fast Track bill. (For its toxic and deceptive provisions, see here.) Like almost every progressive leader and follower you can name, he's opposed to it. Because he represents the largest labor organization in the U.S., the AFL-CIO, he's strongly opposed and for good reason. (By the way, just because someone is from the AFL-CIO doesn't mean they're "right" on labor. AFL-CIO was complicit in Reagan's destruction of the Air Traffic Controllers union. But Trumka is very "right" on labor.)

From Trumka's testimony via Huffington Post (my emphasis everywhere):
AFL-CIO's Trumka: USTR [U.S. Trade Representative] Told Us Murder Isn't A Violation Under U.S. Trade Deal

Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, testified to that claim at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on legislation to grant President Barack Obama so-called fast-track authority to cut at least two new enormous trade agreements with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union. It appears to be the first time anyone has revealed such a stance on the part of a U.S. government that has been touting its efforts to improve wages and working conditions among its trading partners, relying in part on trade agreements. ...

“When you say, ‘Oh these are some standards, they’re better than no standards,’ we were told by by the [United States Trade Representative] general counsel that murdering a trade unionist doesn’t violate these standards, that perpetuating violence against a trade unionist doesn’t violate these agreements,” Trumka said, directing his remarks to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who backs the deals.
The article verified Trumka's claim; click to read how.

Second, union leaders are frequently murdered in Colombia, a country with whom we have a strong "trade" agreement. Trumka again:
Trumka pointed specifically to the Colombia trade pact that was signed in 2006, but passed by Congress in 2011. Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.

“Excuse me. Excuse me if I’m not willing to accept that standard.” Trumka said.
And Coca-Cola, the mega-wealthy global corporation, is complicit in those killings:
A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Florida accuses the Coca-Cola Company, its Colombian subsidiary and business affiliates of using paramilitary death squads to murder, torture, kidnap and threaten union leaders at the multinational soft drink manufacturer’s Colombian bottling plants. The suit was filed on July 20 by the United Steelworkers of America and the International Labor Rights Fund on behalf of SINALTRAINAL, the Colombian union that represents workers at Coca-Cola’s Colombian bottling plants; the estate of a murdered union leader; and five other unionists who worked for Coca-Cola and were threatened, kidnapped or tortured by paramilitaries.  ...
Not directly, of course; that's unregulated what right-wing militias are for. What's not to love about "free trade" if you're the killer Coke company? TPP — Alan Grayson calls it the Fast Track to Hell. He's right. Click to play the video above to see why.

About Ron Wyden's Betrayal of Progressive Values

This is only "bipartisan" — Obama's characterization — because of Ron "I'm the designated Democratic Party Perp on this one" Wyden. If you'd like to explain yourself to Mr. Wyden, here's all you need to know. And here's how to contact him:

Senator Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C., 20510
Tel (202) 224-5244

Suggested messages: "Thanks to your betrayal of progressive values, I'll close my checkbook to any of your appeals for funds."

And for the very bold in Oregon: "Thanks to your betrayal of progressive values, I'll vote against Mr. Wyden, even in the general election. TPP is that bad for my state and its wood products industry."

(Hint: You can decide later how to vote. You can decide now what to say to Ron Wyden's staff.)


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At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The senate finance committee "fast track" bill was passed 20-6.

The Democrats who voted to approve were Sens. Ron Wyden (Ore.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Tom Carper (Del.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.).

The Dems who voted against or didn't vote (reporting sketchy):
Schumer(NY???), Stabenow (MI), Menendez (NJ /under indictment), Brown (OH), Casey, Jr (PA).

The Republicans are all jerkwads and you can look them up on your own if so compelled.

Why are they all up Obumma's ass to invalidate the Iran agreement but basically don't want anything to do with another economy (and sovereignty) blasting "Trade Agreement"? (Just a rhetorical question!)

John Puma

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who accept employment are seen as being little better than slaves. So when an employer feels that troublesome labor leaders need to cease creating difficulties on the path to profit, whatever means necessary to achieve this are fair game. Including murder, for nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of increased wealth.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we take the TPP; the $haft is sure to follow!


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