Fast Track is the Wrong Track

Posted by BCTGM - February 26, 2015 - Jobs, Local Union News, Political Action, Stop Fast Track, Take Action - No Comments
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Republican leaders in Congress and the Obama Administration have declared that trade is a potential area of compromise this year and working people should be concerned.  New trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are being negotiated in the same failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) model. The negotiations are focused on padding corporate profits not increasing workers’ paychecks. Before any trade deal comes to a vote, the administration will ask Congress to pass “Fast Track” legislation.

Call Congress at 1-855-712-8441. Tell them to say NO to “Fast Track” because it harms workers.

What is “Fast Track”?

“Fast Track” is a policy that gives the executive branch the opportunity to negotiate—out of public view—as many trade agreements as it can during a given time period and send them to Congress, which may then only vote yes or no on the agreement; it may not amend the agreement or its “implementing bill,” nor may it send the agreement back to the executive branch with instructions for improvement.

“Fast Track” is dangerous because it forces Congress to make a take-it-or-leave-it decision on a 29 chapter, 1,000 page agreement no matter how bad it is for wages, jobs, small business and the environment. Instead of exercising its constitutional authority to review and amend a trade deal, Congress is unable to improve any section that hurts working people.

A fast track bill was introduced last year but it never came to a vote thanks, in part, to strong opposition from labor, led by the AFL-CIO. That’s because nearly two-thirds of American voters oppose granting the President fast track authority. They believe it gives too much power to one person.

Why is “Fast Track” bad for workers?

No trade deal, no matter how bad, has ever been defeated under “Fast Track” procedures. The minute the negotiators have the “Fast Track” ticket in their hands, they know they are free to agree to provisions that will send jobs overseas, reduce the bargaining power of workers, jeopardize important environmental, health and safety regulations and give global corporations even more influence over our economy. While it’s possible to influence the Administration to reverse course and create a new, pro-worker trade policy, it will be nearly impossible to defeat global corporate interests if “Fast Track” is approved.

Call Congress at 1-855-712-8441. Tell them to say NO to “Fast Track” because it harms workers. 

Ten Facts about Fast Track

  1. Costs Jobs: Trade policies adopted under Fast Track have cost us more than 1 million jobs and contributed to the shuttering of more than 60,000 factories.
  2. Benefits the 1%: Fast Track ensures trade policies are made by and for multinational corporations and the wealthy, making income distribution even more unequal and making it harder to get a raise.
  3. Undermines Democracy: Fast Track doesn’t allow adequate public scrutiny of trade deals while they are being negotiated, and permits only a simple up-or-down vote—no amendments.
  4. Gives Power to Foreign Corporations That Invest in the United States: Fasttracked trade deals almost always give mind-boggling legal rights and privileges to foreign investors—rights and privileges home-grown U.S. businesses don’t even have.
  5. Prevents Amendments: Fast Track doesn’t allow our representatives to amend trade deals, no matter how problematic some provisions might be.
  6. Permits Foreign Currency Manipulation: Current Fast Track legislation doesn’t require trade agreements to contain adequate provisions addressing currency manipulation, which economists estimate has cost up to 5 million U.S. jobs.
  7. Neglects Jobs: The current Fast Track legislation doesn’t include negotiating objectives on job creation, reducing the trade deficit or protecting “Buy American” policies. In fact, it promotes offshoring of jobs through “global value chains.”
  8. Encourages Higher Drug Prices: The current Fast Track legislation includes objectives that empower foreign drugmakers to challenge drug pricing and preferences in programs like Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE—raising costs for these programs, patients and all American taxpayers. It also could delay when generics come onto the market, raising drug prices for all of us.
  9. Hurts the Environment: Previous trade deals negotiated under Fast Track have weakened environmental protections.
  10. Harms Communities: Fast-tracked trade agreements have shut factories and devastated communities—harming even those who still have jobs by forcing cutbacks in such important public services as schools, libraries, road repair, and police and fire protection.

Call Congress at 1-855-712-8441. Tell them to say NO to “Fast Track” because it harms workers. 

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