*?**For release Jan. 20, 2015*
*Statement by the Communications Workers of America on President Obama’s State of the Union Message*
Washington, D.C. – The President spoke with confidence about where America
is headed. In many areas, he laid out an encouraging vision for our nation
– expanding education opportunities for working and middle class families,
improving the ability to better balance work and family responsibilities,
tax fairness, improving children’s health, and more.
CWA has supported the President in these and similar initiatives throughout
his presidency. However, we cannot stand with the President in his alliance
with Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John
Boehner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable to send more
U.S. jobs offshore, undermine U.S. communities and weaken U.S. sovereignty
under the guise of “free trade.” The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has
much more to do with protecting the investment of multinational
corporations and maneuvering around China than lowering trade barriers.
Public opposition to “fast track authority” and the TPP is strong, and
growing more vocal everyday. Consumer groups, workers, environmentalists,
people of faith, students and more have united to stop this attack on U.S.
jobs and communities. Conservatives, who do not believe that nations should
relinquish their sovereign power to secret tribunals, also are on board.
Over the past 20 years, millions of U.S. jobs have been lost. The jobs U.S.
workers had been promised over those years of course never materialized. In
fact, just two trade deals – NAFTA and the Korea Free Trade Agreement --
have resulted in the loss of nearly 800,000 jobs. The promoters of the TPP
are again promising job gains through growth in U.S. exports. But we can do
the math. Any new jobs will be dwarfed by the flood of jobs that go
We believe in trade, but U.S. communities and working families deserve fair
trade that gives workers’ rights, environmental standards, consumer rights
and other issues the same standing as corporate profits. 21st century fair
trade will balance our imports and exports, lead to job growth and protect
all our rights, not just those of the 1 percent.
Instead, through the Investor State Dispute Settlement process, the TPP
gives multinational corporations special guarantees and the right to
challenge a country’s laws and regulations that could affect future profits
in a secret tribunal. Corporations don’t have to wait for six years, like
workers in Guatemala did, for the U.S. to raise trade complaints over the
abuse of workers in that country. Corporations don’t have to accept the
judgment of the Australian Supreme Court that the government has every
right to regulate cigarette packaging. The secret tribunals and ISDS
process would handle corporate complaints quickly.
The TPP has been negotiated in secret, but it’s no secret that we’re taking
this fight to the Obama administration and to Congress, where activists and
organizations across the political spectrum are pushing members of the
House and Senate to stand up for jobs, fairness and our communities.
Congress must reject “fast track” authority and give trade deals like the
TPP the full review that the American people deserve.
National Political Coordinator
Communications Workers of America