La Crosse, April 18, 2015 — The Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO (WWAFLCIO) joins groups across the globe participating in the April 18th Global Day of Action Against Unfair Trade by reminding Congressman Ron Kind that the Fast Track legislation intruded this week in congress is “a crippling of democracy” and is not the way Washington DC should be doing business. In the United States, communities from coast-to-coast will join together in action that day to help derail Fast Track legislation that would enable the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other power grabs disguised as trade agreements to be rushed through Congress.
Workers took time out of their busy schedules to engage in a letter writing session in an attempt to remind the Congressman Kind of the bipartisan movement against Fast Track and the TPP. These cards and letters will be delivered to the Congressman. In addition, the delegation passed two resolutions regarding Fast Track and the TPP.
The first resolution formally stated the group’s strong opposition to the Fast Tracking of any legislation, including trade agreements. It also reiterated that the TPP will foster a race to the bottom with countries on the Pacific Rim by circumventing child-labor laws, workplace safety measures, and environmental standards.
The second resolution applauds the actions of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) in their solemn pledge to no longer fund or contribute to the political campaign of any and all candidates that vote for Fast Track or the TPP. This resolution also encourages all labor unions to take the same action.
United Food & Commercial Workers International President Marc Perrone declared: “At a time when our elected leaders should be focusing on raising wages, creating more opportunity, and addressing income inequality, the TPP would do exactly the opposite. That is why labor unions from across the U.S. are joining together to cut off funding to those who are pushing this harmful agreement.” Perrone announced that the 1.3-million-member UFCW will no longer make any contributions “to federal officeholders who support or refuse to take a position on the TPP and Fast Track….Unless a member of Congress is on the record opposing both, they will no longer be receiving our financial assistance.”
“We ask a simple question, why should we offer our financial support to any candidate, regardless of political party, that supports polices that reduce wages and employment. In effect, such a candidate is supporting efforts to defund the source of any contributions that a worker or a union may make to a candidate. We hope the Congressman takes notice of this change in policy,” Brockmiller said (President, WWAFLCIO).
Previous efforts by the WWAFLCIO to point out to the Congressman the futility of the TPP include the delivery Democratic US Senator Sherrod Brown’s book “Myths of Free Trade: Why American Trade Policy Has Failed” to Congressman Kind. It is was the hope of the council that Mr. Kind would read the Senator’s book and sincerely reconsider his support of NAFTA and similar trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), but given recent public statements and pro-TPP editorials by the Congressman, those hopes have been dashed.
The news isn’t all bad, the WW AFL CIO applauds the positions of Congressman Mark Pocan (2nd District WI) and US Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) for their national leadership in the in the fight to preserve transparency and accountability in international trade agreements. Pocan recently received an “A+” on his report card on this issue from the South Central Federation of Labor (WI). Unfortunately, if the WWAFLCIO was to issue a similar report card for Mr. Kind, he would receive an “F”.
The WWAFLCIO is a collective organization of labor unions representing workers in Western Wisconsin, and organizes in our community to promote social and economic justice for all working people.