AFL-CIO president: Bad trade deal is worse than no deal

May 18, 2015, 7:24 PM
National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks in Portland, Ore., Monday, May 18, 2015, about the...
National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks in Portland, Ore., Monday, May 18, 2015, about the organization's concerns over the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty that President Obama is pushing. Trumka's visit comes as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on so-called fast-track legislation that would let Obama pursue the 12-nation trade deal.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The head of the largest U.S. trade union federation said Monday that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and he urged Congress not to support fast-track legislation that would let President Barack Obama present Congress with proposed trade agreements that lawmakers can ratify or reject, but not amend.

That would make it easier for Obama to get congressional approval for a trade deal between a dozen Pacific Rim nations.

Trumka spoke Monday at a news conference about 10 miles from Nike Inc. headquarters in Oregon, the spot where Obama recently defended the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trumka said he’s in the state for an organizing summit, and it’s only a coincidence he was speaking near Nike. He jabbed Obama for his choice of venue.

“If I were somebody who was advocating or supporting TPP or fast track, the last place I would have gone is Nike, for the number of jobs they’ve offshored, for what they’ve done to drive down the wages of every Oregonian and everybody else.”

Besides the United States, the accord would include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Most business interests support the Pacific Rim deal while labor groups have said it will cost American jobs and suppress wages.

The details of the partnership have not been made public. The Obama administration says such a disclosure would hurt complicated negotiations with 11 other countries.

Trumka said that if the agreement is better for workers than NAFTA, as supporters claim, then let the public see it. He added that the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the United States, knows many of the details.

“We do, although we can’t tell you without going to jail because it’s a classified document,” he said. “But here’s what I can tell you: What we have seen falls short — far, far, far short of what it should be to protect workers’ rights.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects the trade legislation to receive a final vote by week’s end. Trumka said he will visit as many states as possible before the vote, and he would be “blowing the whistle” on those Democrats “putting corporate profits before people.”

Trumka, on Monday, called out four Democratic members of Oregon’s Congressional delegation — U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader and Suzanne Bonamici.

“The people who support fast track right now say it’s the TPP or nothing,” he said. “What we’re saying is we want a process that lets us take an agreement and make it better.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

FILE - An overnight individual egg strata is shown April 4, 2016, in Concord, N.H. Federal regulati...
Associated Press

From AM to PM, the fickle force of government is with you

WASHINGTON (AP) — When you groggily roll out of bed and make breakfast, the government edges up to your kitchen table, too. Unlike you, it’s perky. It’s an unseen force in your morning. The government makes sure you can see the nutrients in your cereal. It fusses over your toast, insisting that the flour it […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Boxes of the drug mifepristone line a shelf at the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa...
Associated Press

Medication abortion is common; here’s how it works

Medication abortions became the preferred method for ending pregnancy in the U.S. even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. These involve taking two prescription medicines days apart — at home or in a clinic. Abortion procedures are an invasive medical technique that empties the womb. They are sometimes called surgical abortions, although they […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Children and adults take advantage of the warm weather to cool off at the Trago Spray Park o...
Associated Press

For now, wary US treads water with transformed COVID-19

The fast-changing coronavirus has kicked off summer in the U.S. with lots of infections but relatively few deaths compared to its prior incarnations. COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans each day, but is not nearly as dangerous as it was last fall and winter. “It’s going to be a good summer and we deserve […]
7 hours ago
People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 ride a subway in Paris, Thursday, June 30, 20...
Associated Press

With hospitalizations up, France weighs return to masks

NICE, France (AP) — Tourism is booming again in France — and so is COVID-19. French officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive antigovernment protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Virgin Orbit rocket launches 7 US defense satellites

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Virgin Orbit rocket carrying seven U.S. Defense Department satellites was launched from a special Boeing 747 flying off the Southern California coast and streaked toward space Friday night. The modified jumbo jet took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the Mojave Desert and released the rocket over the […]
7 hours ago
Mahayana Landowne, of Brooklyn, N.Y., wears a "Lady Justice" costume as she marches past the Suprem...
Associated Press

Texas Supreme Court blocks order that resumed abortions

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court has blocked a lower court order that had allowed clinics in the state to continue performing abortions even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it’s landmark 1973 ruling that confirmed a constitutional right to abortion. It was not immediately clear whether the clinics in Texas that resumed […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
AFL-CIO president: Bad trade deal is worse than no deal