‘Murdering trade unionists OK with TTIP, TPP trade treaties’

This video says about itself:

Colombia, the world’s most dangerous country for trade unions

24 January 2012

In Colombia, 26 trade unionists have lost their lives in 2011 in the discharge of their duties, according to human rights organisations’ informations. This country is ranking first worldwide in violence against trade unionists. One of the most recent cases occured in Putumayo where a worker and his wife have been killed after participating in a debate on low salaries in presence of oil companies‘ members. The impunity makes the situation even worse.

COLOMBIA’S public prosecutor has requested a Supreme Court probe into allegations that former president Alvaro Uribe worked with and financed death squads. Local media reported on Tuesday that Eduardo Montealegre Lynett had asked the court to investigate Mr Uribe’s tenure as Antioquia state governor from 1995-1997: here.

From News Line daily in Britain:

Monday, 27 April 2015

Murdering trade unionists does not violate labour standards’

A MAJOR row has broken out in the US over statements made last week by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), who claimed that murdering trade unionists did not violate labour standards in trade agreements. The USTR also went on to say that that ‘perpetuating violence against a trade unionist doesn’t violate these agreements’.

This is what Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, testified at the Senate Finance Committee hearing on legislation to grant President Barack Obama fast track authority to drive through the TTIP deal between the US and the EU.

The legislation would also affect the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement between the US and twelve Pacific Rim countries.

Trumka said that the labour standards included in trade deals are poorly enforced, and that before he would back the White House’s push for the TTP or TTIP he wanted to see tougher labour provisions that could be enforced.

‘When you say, “Oh these are some standards, they’re better than no standards” we were told 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 pointed specifically to the Colombia trade agreement that was signed in 2006, and passed by Congress in 2011. He said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labour protections four years ago, some 105 trade unionists have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.

Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, disclosed that USTR officials said in at least two meetings – where she was present – that killing union members and officials would not be considered interfering with labour rights under the terms of the trade measures.

One instance involved talks last year about killings in Guatemala, where the AFL-CIO has been seeking redress for labour violations for six years. Another came just a few months ago in talks about a three-year-old case involving Honduras.

Lee said: ‘To substantiate our case we documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute.

‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labour chapter because it was a rule of law problem.’

She continued: ‘We certainly made the argument that if a worker is murdered in the course of trying to exercise a legal right to freedom of association or to organise and bargain collectively, then the government is failing to effectively enforce its laws, and the USTR disagreed with that interpretation.

‘If there is a climate of terror against trade unionists who effectively are prevented from exercising their rights under the law, then our government ought to take this at least as seriously as a failure to send a labour inspector to a factory.’

A spokesman for the USTR, Andrew Bates, didn’t deny Trumka’s interpretation, but he noted that in the cases of Honduras and Guatemala, the deals were signed by the Bush administration, as part of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, and included weaker provisions than those that the Obama administration extracted in finishing the Colombia pact.

Bates also noted that the US had been pressing Colombian authorities under the trade agreement to reduce attacks on union members and activists there.

Backtracking, Bates followed up the Trumka statement with a lengthier email statement saying: ‘It is absolutely not USTR’s position that free trade agreement labour chapters do not cover labour-related violence.

‘Addressing violence against union leaders and organisers and prosecuting perpetrators of union-related violence is a critical centerpiece of our efforts to advance fundamental worker rights.

‘In terms of the TPP, the working conditions and status of labour rights in many Asian countries are deplorable, and labour advocates have been subjected to harassment and violence there.

‘The United States can be significantly more effective in elevating workers’ rights in Asia and levelling the playing field for American workers if we engage with these countries.

‘That is why we’re seeking to build on the strong labour provisions in the most recent US trade agreements by seeking enforceable rules that uphold fundamental labour rights.

‘Those opposed to TPP would leave us in the position of doing nothing and effectively locking in the status quo – potentially making it even harder for us to fight for these rights in the future.’

AFL-CIO’s Lee said she was not satisfied with the response.

‘I concede that they care.

‘I concede that they are acting to address the labour violence.

‘The question is whether USTR considers murder to be a violation of the labour chapter. That is the question,’ she said.

‘The point is that USTR has informed us that labour-related violence does not constitute an actionable violation of the labour provisions in our FTAs. The quote from Bates skirts that question.’

Asked directly, Bates said yes, the labour chapter covers violence against union activists. But Lee remained unconvinced: ‘But does USTR consider labour-related violence to be an actionable breach of the labour chapter?

‘Before President Trumka gave his comments at the Guatemala press briefing, Tim Reif and Mike Froman reminded Trumka that violence is not part of the labour chapter.’

Britain: THE DODGY trade deal between the US and the EU would kill off campaigns to renationalise Royal Mail and BT, the Communication Workers’ Union heard yesterday. In a debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), delegates noted with concern that Labour’s opposition to the proposed deal had so far been confined to the impact on the NHS: here.

THE AFL-CIO US trade union federation stated yesterday that the Obama administration has made the deplorable decision to upgrade Malaysia – a major player in the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement – on its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. This clearly political decision undermines the credibility of important anti-trafficking efforts and underscores the fact that the Obama administration is perfectly willing to abandon workers to pursue its trade agenda. It is also yet another sign that the TPP will only continue a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions: here.

SENATE DEMOCRATS BLOCK FAST TRACK FOR TRADE DEAL “Democrats, including several who favor Obama’s trade agenda, banded together to prevent the Senate from considering legislation that grants the president so-called Trade Promotion Authority, which would bar Congress from amending or filibustering trade agreements negotiated by the administration.” And Sen. Sherrod Brown called out President Obama for his treatment of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the debate. [Michael McAuliff, Laura Barron-Lopez, Zach Carter and Dana Liebelson, HuffPost]

ELIZABETH WARREN DETAILS ALL OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S BROKEN TRADE PROMISES There is no love lost in this trade feud. [Zach Carter, HuffPost]

ELIZABETH WARREN CALLS ON HILLARY TO WADE INTO TRADE DEBATE “As the fight over a massive international trade agreement heats up on Capitol Hill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on Tuesday that she wants to see Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ‘weigh in on trade.’ In an interview with The Huffington Post, Warren declined to say whether she would endorse Clinton. ‘Right now I think it’s important for her to have a chance to lay out her views on a whole host of issues, including trade,’ she said.” [Dana Liebelson, HuffPost]

THE scourge of a privatising sweetheart deal between the EU and US threatens to choke Britain’s arts industry, actors warned yesterday. Equity delegates attending the acting union’s annual conference recognised “the huge danger and potential threat” that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) poses to Britain’s entertainment industries, cultural life and the entire trade union movement: here.

TPP Could ‘Undermine Health of Web’ Say 250+ Tech Companies and Digital Rights Groups: here.

THE ABSURD LEVEL OF TPP SECRECY “[A]lthough legislators are allowed to look at the text of the TPP in a secure room, they are only allowed to do so under restrictions that make it nearly impossible to understand what they are reading. First, they can’t bring expert staffers with them unless they have the right clearances, and the aides who have expertise in various relevant areas — for instance on the impacts on the environment or labor law — generally are not cleared. Second, lawmakers can’t record anything, or take any notes from the room.” Help support HuffPost journalism by signing up to get Washington Bureau Chief Ryan Grim’s newsletter here. [Michael McAuliff and Ryan Grim, HuffPost]

WHY THE TPP DEAL OKs SLAVERY IN MALAYSIA It all comes down to a key global trade “chokepoint.” [Akbar Ahmed, Laura Barron-Lopez and Ryan Grim]

EU dropped pesticide laws due to US pressure over TTIP, documents reveal: here.

Australia walks away from Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal talks. The trade minister, Andrew Robb, says 98% of agreement is finalised but the difficulties lie with the big four economies of US Canada, Japan and Mexico: here.

In a significant blow to the Obama administration, four days of “make or break” ministerial-level talks in Hawaii on the US-dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) collapsed last weekend. No agreement was even reached on when to resume the negotiations: here.

ATLANTA, Oct 5 2015 (Reuters) – Pacific trade ministers have reached a deal on the most sweepingtrade liberalization pact in a generation that will cut trade barriers and set common standards for 12 countries, an official familiar with the talks said on Monday: here. See also here. And here. And here.

PUBLIC SERVICE unions around the world condemned the secretive Pacific Rim trade pact yesterday, after it was agreed this week. Public Services International (PSI) and its affiliates said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was bad news as long as the contents remained secret: here.

The TPP: A step on the road to war: here.

After the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was released, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement: ‘After six long years, the secrecy is over. The public finally has a chance to scrutinise the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for themselves instead of having to rely on characterisations made by the agreement’s supporters. America’s voters can now make their own judgment about whether it meets their high standards for a 21st century agreement that will raise wages, protect our democracy and promote sustainable growth and development’: here.

TRADE unionists warned yesterday of the deleterious effect on workers’ rights and health from the Pacific trade pact set to be signed in New Zealand today. Leaders of the 12 Pacific nations negotiating the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) will meet in the capital Auckland to sign the 5,000-page document — negotiated in secret over the past seven years: here.

THE UN’s democracy expert urged Pacific states not to sign the “fundamentally flawed” Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) in Auckland today: here.

On February 4, tens of thousands of people protested throughout New Zealand against the formal signing of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement by representatives from 12 countries. The signing follows years of secret negotiations between the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam: here.

42 thoughts on “‘Murdering trade unionists OK with TTIP, TPP trade treaties’

  1. Pingback: 'Murdering trade unionists OK with TTIP, TPP trade treaties' | The Socialist

  2. Pingback: Independent United States senator Sanders running for president | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Last week, President Obama challenged Senator Elizabeth Warren and other critics of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. In response, Senator Warren and Senator Sherrod Brown joined Senator Bernie Sanders in demanding publication of the full TPP text, so everyone can see it and draw their own conclusions.

    Please join our friends at CREDO Action in urging President Obama to publish the full TPP text.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik

    CREDO action
    Stand with Senators Sanders, Warren, and Brown: President Obama must release full text of TPP

    Petition to President Obama:
    “We demand the immediate release of the full text of the latest draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to members of Congress, their staff, and the American public, before Congress votes to Fast Track the TPP.”

    Add your name:
    Sign the petition ►

    Dear Bob,

    Our campaign to pressure President Obama’s administration to immediately make all secret trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) just got a massive boost.

    President Obama is lashing out at activists and our elected representatives who have called for transparency around secret negotiations, calling us “dishonest.”

    In response Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown added their voices to Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for the Obama administration to immediately release the full text of the TPP. In a letter to the president, Senators Warren and Brown wrote:

    The American people should be allowed to weigh in on the facts of the TPP before Members of Congress are asked to voluntarily reduce our ability to amend, shape, or block any trade deal. The press and the public should be allowed to examine the details that corporate executives and lobbyists have already been allowed to influence for years. Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate instead of being muzzled by classification rules. Before Congress votes to facilitate the adoption of the TPP, the American public should be allowed to see for themselves whether it’s good deal for them.1

    Stand with Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders: Add your name and tell President Obama to immediately release the full text of the TPP before Congress votes on Fast Track. Click here to sign the petition.

    Senators Warren and Brown sent the letter in response to the president’s recent attacks on progressive activists fighting to stop Congress from rubber-stamping a Fast Track bill for the biggest trade deal in our history. President Obama has even gone so far as to compare our objections to the deal being negotiated with corporations and foreign governments to Sarah Palin’s invocating of “death panels” during the health care debate.

    The Warren-Brown letter specifically points out that President Obama’s “trade transparency record is worse than that of former President George W. Bush,” noting that even Bush “published the full negotiation texts of a major free trade deal with Latin America several months before Congress had to vote on giving the deal fast track benefits.”2

    This letter gives our ongoing campaign to rally around Senator Bernie Sanders’ call for transparency on all pending trade deals a huge lift. We need to do our part by pushing even harder for transparency now.

    Add your name and tell President Obama to immediately release the full text of the TPP before Congress votes on Fast Track. Click here to sign the petition.

    It would be outrageous for the Obama administration to allow the Republican leadership and their corporate allies within the Democratic party to ram through Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority without allowing all members of Congress, their staff, and the American public to read what is in trade agreements such as the TPP. And as Senators Warren and Brown point out, it would be worse than George W. Bush!

    In fact, the reason why the corporate lobby is pushing hard for Fast Track is that they know the TPP could not get through Congress without this extraordinary power grab.

    This secret “trade” deal would eviscerate broad swaths of regulations that protect consumers, workers, the environment and the soundness of our financial system. And it would set up a legal regime where corporate profits trump the policy priorities of sovereign governments.

    It’s ironic that the president claims critics of the TPP “don’t know what they’re talking about” when it’s his administration that is refusing to release the text of his secret trade agreement to the public – only providing extremely limited access to members of Congress. The Obama administration should immediately release the TPP text to the public, and Congress, so we can have a spirited and informed public debate on the largest trade deal in our history.

    Stand with Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, and Bernie Sanders: Add your name and tell President Obama to immediately release the full text of the TPP before Congress votes on Fast Track. Click the link below to sign the petition.


    Thank you for your activism.

    Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
    CREDO Action from Working Assets

    Add your name:
    Sign the petition ►

    1. “Letter from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown to President Obama, April 25. 2015.
    2. “Zach Carter, “Elizabeth Warren Tells Obama To Put Up Or Shut Up On Trade,” HuffingtonPost.com, April 25, 2015.

    © 2015 CREDO. All rights reserved.


  4. Pingback: Taiwan does not want Japanese nuclear Fukushima food | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  5. Pingback: TTP trade deal, Mark Fiore satiric video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: London solidarity with Turkish workers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. There are already lots of reasons to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): exporting US jobs, increasing prescription drug prices, undermining Internet freedom, and empowering corporations to attack our environmental and health laws.

    But here’s a new one: a sneak attack in the package of bills to Fast Track the TPP that would cut $700 million from Medicare. Please join our friends at CREDO Action in telling Democratic leaders to stop the sneak attack on Medicare.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik


    CREDO action
    Stop the sneak attack on Medicare

    Sign the petition to Democratic leaders in Congress:
    “Don’t let Republicans use the debate over Fast Tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership to force cuts to Medicare.”

    Add your name:
    Sign the petition ►


    Dear Activist,

    Earlier this month, something happened that no one expected: Thanks to the leadership of Senators Harry Reid, Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders — who were powered by the activism of hundreds of thousands of CREDO members and our allies in the progressive community — Democrats were able to slow down the progress of Fast Track trade authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by blocking a key test vote.

    But Congress could now be on the verge of passing a rotten compromise package that would pay for Trade Adjustment Assistance for displaced workers with $700 million in cuts to Medicare funding.

    We’ve stopped backdoor cuts to our vital social safety net programs before — and with strong grassroots pressure, we can do it again.

    Sign the petition to Democratic Leaders in Congress: Stop the sneak attack on Medicare. Click here to sign the petition.

    The Trade Adjustment Assistance program, originally implemented in 1974, provides training, benefits and job-placement assistance to American workers whose jobs are offshored or eliminated because of import competition. But paying for Trade Adjustment Assistance by raiding Medicare would put our country’s most vulnerable senior citizens at risk.

    The proposal currently being considered to fund Trade Adjustment Assistance includes an extension of the sequester on Medicare payments into the second half of 2024, which amounts to a $700 million cut to Medicare funding.1 While this isn’t a direct cut to Medicare benefits, it could still have devastating effects for America’s seniors. As the American Medical Association explained in a letter to Congress, these cuts would “impede improvements to our health care system” and “could lead to serious access to care issues for Medicare patients.”2

    Thanks to your activism, we were able to slow down the Fast Track bill’s progress in the Senate. Fighting back against the Medicare cuts in the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill with grassroots activism gives us the opportunity to turn up the pressure even more. If Democrats stand together we can still stop these heartless cuts to Medicare, and potentially derail the rotten compromise to Fast Track the TPP.

    Sign the petition: Stop the sneak attack on Medicare. Click here to sign the petition.

    Thanks for everything you do.

    Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
    CREDO Action from Working Assets


  8. Pingback: TTIP trade deal news update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  9. Pingback: Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and Hillary Clinton | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  10. Pingback: TTIP trade deal defeat in United States Congress | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  11. Pingback: British artists against TTIP trade deal | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  12. International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) young workers are supporting the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) global action day. The day of action is in support of US cabin crew members demanding a fair contract at United Airlines. At an ITF youth leaders meeting in Washington DC, last week, the young members showed their support.

    Delegates at the ITF young transport workers global committee meeting unanimously decided to interrupt their meeting on 16 July to support the worldwide day of action. This is after hearing that negotiations between the AFA-CWA and United Airlines were at a standstill, with members deprived of their share of the airline’s huge profits.

    The union is demanding that United reaches a unified labour contract with its 24,000 flight attendants as promised after the airline completed its merger with Continental Airlines in October 2010. AFA international president Sara Nelson said: ‘The bottom line problem is the company’s unwillingness to put the required economic resources into a Flight Attendant Contract. That is unacceptable and we are going to stand up to make it clear to the company that we expect much more, especially now as United’s profits are soaring.’

    ITF general secretary Steve Cotton commented that cabin crew deserved a fair contract and urged United to enter into effective negotiations. He added that the ITF, including its young workers, were proud to support the AFA-CWA’s industry-wide day of action. The action day took place in all the airline’s 16 base locations, including London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Washington Dulles, where new CWA president Chris Shelton and the ITF young workers joined in. The committee meeting followed the ITF youth summer school, which 35 participants from 29 countries attended.

    • The debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has just begun and workers in dozens of industries from every sector are rising up against it. The US trade unions are frightened that the TPP agreement will mean the mass export of US jobs overseas and the undermining of the American trade unions.

    The AFL-CIO is the US equivalent of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Britain. Richard Trumka is president of AFL-CIO said: ‘2015 has proved that trade is a core economic issue for all Americans, especially those whose work creates the profits in the first place. When the trade debate started to break though the Washington bubble, Americans got what we were talking about right away.

    ‘The campaign was democracy at its finest. In just four months, among many other tactics, workers and their allies made more than 2.6 million phone calls and wrote more than 32,500 handwritten letters to the House and Senate. Congress may have reluctantly given the president the authority to negotiate the TPP, but workers have made clear he has the responsibility to do it the right way. Here’s how:

    Currency manipulation

    ‘The final TPP must include rules against currency manipulation, as a bipartisan majority in Congress has demanded. For decades, currency manipulation has been used by US trading partners, including Japan, China, Malaysia and Singapore, to gain a competitive advantage that shutters factories, hurts workers and devastates communities. The Economic Policy Institute estimates the U.S. could add as many as 5.8 million jobs by eliminating currency manipulation.

    ‘The continued refusal to include enforceable currency rules in TPP would not only guarantee more US job loss, but undermine any remaining belief that US trade policy is designed to benefit anyone but powerful global corporations.

    Foreign corporations held accountable to courts

    ‘The TPP must also ditch the rigged legal system called investor-state-dispute settlement, which lets foreign corporations opt out of the US court system and sue US taxpayers to recover lost profits by arguing that local, state, or federal laws or regulations violate their right to “fair and equitable treatment”.

    ‘This standard is so vague that the private tribunals that decide these cases have awarded huge sums on the basis of a legal argument as flimsy as “that’s not fair”. This system, by and for elites, is understandably unpopular. NAFTA was the first US trade deal to incorporate ISDS—a mistake that the president must fix if TPP is to gain support beyond the global companies who profit from the special privilege it gives them.

    Strong rules of origin

    ‘The TPP must also include strong “rules of origin”. Weak rules will provide tariff benefits to goods largely made in China and other countries outside the TPP. Strong rules will ensure that the majority of the benefits of the TPP go to countries that have an obligation to follow the TPP rules. For automobiles in particular — a key US manufactured good — weak rules of origin will undermine US employment throughout the US automotive supply chain.

    Labour and environmental rules

    ‘The labour and environmental rules of the TPP must not be merely enforceable, but also enforced.
    ‘In their workplaces, America’s workers have been living the race to the bottom for decades despite promises that each new trade deal will rectify the labour problems of the last. Threats to move work overseas and cut pay and benefits remain all too common.

    ‘As recently as November 2014, the Government Accountability Office reported that US enforcement of labour provisions in existing trade agreements is inadequate; we would call the enforcement efforts deplorable. Promises to “do better” may have been enough to secure fast track. They will not be enough to secure support for the TPP.’

    He concludes: ‘The tide has shifted. The new consensus, the new assumption, is that the economy must work for people, not the other way around.’



  13. Pingback: United States NSA political, economic espionage on Japanese allies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens New Zealand healthcare | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Sign my petition to join our fight against the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. We cannot afford to let this trade deal hurt consumers and cost America jobs.

    Dear Linda,

    Wall Street and big corporations just won a big victory to advance a disastrous trade deal. Now it’s on us to stop it from becoming law.

    This morning, negotiators announced an “agreement in principle” for something called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), meaning it will soon move to Congress for approval.

    The TPP would expand the same failed “free trade” policies to 12 other nations that have already cost millions of jobs and shuttered tens of thousands of factories across the United States.

    Make no mistake: if TPP passes, it will further hurt consumers and cost American jobs. So we must stop it, together.

    In the Senate, I will do all that I can to defeat this agreement. But I need you at my side in this fight, because we will be going against some of the biggest, strongest corporations in the world.

    Add your name to mine to stand against the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. Let’s show them that people can prevail over corporations.

    The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA that have been supported by corporate America and that cost America millions of decent-paying jobs.

    Since 2001, nearly 60,000 manufacturing plants in this country have been shut down, and we have lost almost 5 million decent-paying manufacturing jobs. NAFTA alone led to the loss of almost three-quarters of a million jobs — the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China cost America four times that number: almost 3 million jobs. These agreements are not the only reason why manufacturing in the United States has declined, but they are important factors.

    The TPP would also give multinational corporations the ability to challenge laws passed in the United States that could negatively impact their “expected future profits.” Take, for example, a French waste management firm suing Egypt for over $100 million for increasing the minimum wage and improving labor laws. Egypt’s “crime” in this case is trying to improve life for their low-wage workers. Or Vattenfall, a Swedish energy company, has used this process to sue Germany for $5 billion over its decision to phase out nuclear power. Should the people of Germany have the right to make energy choices on their own or should these decisions be left in the hands of an unelected international tribunal?

    We face the same threats here at home if the TPP passes.

    Virtually every major union and environmental organization in the United States is against the deal. Major religious groups are as well because they know what it could mean for some of the poorest people on the planet.

    Wall Street, corporate America and their representatives in Congress will try to pass this bad trade deal. This is our chance to make our voices heard.

    Click here to add your name to mine to stand against passing the disastrous Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.

    Not a lot of presidential candidates would use their campaigns to influence legislation being considered in Congress. Some candidates haven’t even expressed an opinion on this critical issue, which, frankly, I don’t really understand.

    But as I’ve said before, this campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or Jeb Bush — it’s about the needs of the American people.

    And we need a new approach to trade in this country — one that benefits working families and not just the CEOs of multinational corporations.

    Thank you for standing with working families.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


  16. Pingback: Big anti-TTIP demonstrations in Amsterdam, Berlin today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  17. Pingback: British Petroleum and Colombian death squads | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  18. Friday 6th November 2015

    posted by Morning Star in World

    THE text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact was released in New Zealand yesterday.

    It revealed some concessions to public concerns over the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system and intellectual property agreements that could lead to sharp rises in medicine costs.

    Trade unions, health workers, consumer groups and environmentalists say ISDS allows firms to override national labour rights, health and safety and environmental protections.

    One concession over ISDS was that countries can specifically ban tobacco companies from using the tribunals to challenge health regulations.

    The agreement stresses that its provisions on patents for medicines “do not and should not prevent a party (country) from taking measures to protect public health.”

    In response to US pressure, TPP countries agreed to give drug companies eight years of protection from cheaper competitors for medicines produced in living cells. The industry had sought 12 years’ protection.



  19. The UAW has released the following statement on TPP: ‘Today the International Executive Board of the UAW unanimously voted to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Over the past several years we met with the Administration, trade negotiators, members of Congress, and an array of stakeholders on the TPP. From the outset we constructively worked in pursuit of an ambitious agreement that creates prosperity both here and abroad for working families.

    ‘After analysing and discussing the text of the now publicly released agreement we have concluded the TPP, regrettably, fails and repeats many of the mistakes of prior trade agreements that contributed to stagnant wages, rising income inequality, and plant closings in the United States. The stakes are high as forty per cent of the world’s economy is in the balance. The scope of the agreement will increase as Indonesia, China, South Korea, Thailand and other nations could join over time.

    ‘If ratified, TPP will impact our nation for generations to come. It touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It will impact the food we eat, the air we breathe, the medicines we take, and the cars we drive. We are concerned by the ramifications of the TPP because it puts the interests of corporations and their pursuit of overseas profits in the driver’s seat.

    ‘We already know what happens when overseas profits are put before working families. We had a trade surplus with Mexico in 1993, the year before North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented. Supporters of the trade agreement promised new jobs. Instead, US trade deficits with Mexico cost almost 700,000 US jobs by 2010. Most of the jobs displaced were in manufacturing. Nearly every auto manufacturer and supplier has increased their operations in Mexico with the hopes of increasing their exports to the United States and elsewhere.

    ‘US corporations took advantage of NAFTA’s extraordinary investor protections trade liberalisation and low wages to outsource US jobs. Foreign direct investment tripled in Mexico since NAFTA according to the IMF. The TPP includes many of the same investor protections as NAFTA. US laws, including Buy America laws, are jeopardised as foreign investors seek damages in private courts to protest laws supporting US jobs and protect consumers.

    ‘Mexican workers also suffered under NAFTA. More than two million subsistence farmers have been forced from their land. Mexican workers are often put in harm’s way for exercising their most basic rights. Most make less than $4 dollars an hour despite booming profits and record growth for the industry. Company unions more aligned with employers than workers dominate and exclude independent unions and unbiased participants. The TPP does not create a concrete, enforceable plan to ensure basic rights for Mexican workers.

    ‘TPP backers argue the labour chapter will effectively address structural problems found in Mexico and elsewhere. Unfortunately the chapter often relies on terms without definitions. For example, while countries are required to adopt and maintain laws to provide for a minimum wage, that wage could be set at 5¢ per hour. Many TPP countries notoriously repress workers’ rights and there is no reason to think they will not maintain the status quo.

    ‘Manufacturing jobs are falling behind as 600,000 manufacturing workers make just $9.60 per hour or less and one out of every four make less than $12. Congress should work with the Administration to enact an array of policies to reverse this trend. Sadly, the TPP is counterproductive and undermines the future of domestic manufacturing. Competitive pressures from low wage countries will increase as remaining US tariffs on manufactured goods are eliminated. The Wall Street Journal projects the combined US trade deficit in manufacturing, including autos and auto parts will increase by $55.8 billion under the TPP over the next ten years. The impact will probably be worse.

    ‘UAW members know what the offshoring of jobs does to communities. The TPP will create more incentives for companies to move operations to low wage countries. The auto Rules of Origin (ROO) Standard is unacceptable as over half of the value of a car or truck could be built by countries that are not in the agreement and still receive benefits. To make matters worse the threshold for many auto parts is 35%. By comparison, NAFTA’s standard is 62.5%. This is another reason why the TPP is worse than NAFTA.

    ‘We call on Congress to reject the TPP.’



  20. Pingback: TTIP deal threatens climate | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  21. Pingback: Singaporeans, eat Fukushima nuclear food, Japanese government demands | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  22. Friday 5th February 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    SOME 1,000 pro-democracy protesters rallied against the signing of an anti-worker and anti-democratic trade agreement in New Zealand yesterday.

    The peaceful march obstructed traffic in the centre of Auckland, where the signing was set to take place. A smaller demonstration was held in the capital Wellington.

    Representatives of New Zealand, the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, Chile, Vietnam and Brunei gathered to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    Trade unions, environmentalists, doctors and consumer groups say the TPP will spell disaster for employment rights, public services and national governments’ power to regulate big business.

    Protest organisers Real Choice spokeswoman Julia Espinoza said it was “our opportunity to take action for the 800 million people affected by this trade deal.”

    In a tweet to the demonstrators, former All Blacks rugby international Piri Weepu wrote: “Good luck but also be safe. No need to protest violently. Walk together for Aotearoa,” using the Maori name for the country.

    New Zealand Prime Minister John Key denied he was “running scared” of protesters after he pulled out of an appearance at the Marae — the Maori assembly ground — in Waitangi north of the capital.

    Earlier this week, Maori leader Kingi Taurua said protesters were welcome, while Marae trustee Emma Gibbs voiced fears that there could be rioting if Mr Key tried to defend the TPP in his speech.

    “I won’t go to Waitangi with a gagging order on me,” Mr Key said.

    “And I won’t go when … elders of that marae are actively encouraging … violence.”



  23. Pingback: Guyanese poet Jan Carew, new book | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  24. Pingback: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, trade deals and plutocracy | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  25. Pingback: Save whales, stop Japan-European Union trade agreement | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  26. Pingback: TPP trade deal, will Clinton flip-flop on it? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  27. Pingback: Dutch anti-TTIP referendum after Ukraine-EU referendum | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  28. Pingback: Dutch farmers, environmentalists join hands against TTIP | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  29. Pingback: Hillary Clinton’s speeches, Wall Street and government contracts | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  30. Pingback: May Day demonstrations all over the world today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  31. Pingback: TPP ‘free’ trade deal, discussion | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  32. Pingback: Hillary Clinton, Democratic convention, war and TPP | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  33. Pingback: English Tolpuddle Martyrs remembered today | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  34. Pingback: Stop Trans Pacific Partnership deal, petition | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  35. Pingback: Hillary Clinton, lower corporate taxes and TPP | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  36. Pingback: TPP deal, dead or alive? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  37. Pingback: Trump’s cabinet of generals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  38. Pingback: Donald Trump, the European Union and NATO | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  39. Pingback: Trump breaks TPP promise | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  40. Pingback: Hillary Clinton attacks Sanders, helping Trump again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.