San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Free trade

Op-ed: Let's see a Trans-Pacific Partnership that respects workers' rights

The Trans-Pacific Partnership being negotiated between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations has been characterized as the most progressive trade agreement in our history, with the strongest labor and environment provisions ever.

But what is the benchmark? To date, the United States has never had a trade agreement that protects basic rights and raises wages and living standards for working people. Previous agreements have failed to ensure the integrity of the democratic process and preserve consumer and environmental protections. Comparing this pact to previous agreements sets a pretty low bar.

While there have been some small improvements to the labor chapters of trade agreements over the years, the enforcement record has been mediocre.

In April 2008, the AFL-CIO, together with several Guatemalan labor unions, filed a petition under the Central America Free Trade Agreement. This is the first step in initiating a complaint when there has been a violation of the labor commitments in a trade agreement. The petition alleged that the Guatemalan government failed to enforce its own labor laws — tolerating repression of union activity and blacklisting, as well as violence and intimidation, including the assassination of two union officers.

Seven years later, a dispute settlement panel has yet to hear the case — and workers continue to wait for justice.

In March 2012, the AFL-CIO and more than 20 Honduran labor organizations alleged that Honduras, too, was failing to enforce its labor laws. This petition detailed egregious violations affecting hundreds of workers. Not only did the Honduran government fail to protect workers from beatings and assassination, but its own police and soldiers were implicated in a number of cases. Despite the egregious and repeated violations, the Obama administration took almost three years to even publish a report. Workers wait for justice.

In April 2010, the U.S. and Colombian governments, with an eye toward speeding ratification of the long-stalled U.S.-Colombia trade deal, announced a “labor action plan,” which was intended to bring Colombia into compliance with internationally recognized labor rights. Since the plan’s announcement, 105 Colombian trade unionists have been assassinated. Clearly, the new standard — reportedly similar to what’s included in the TPP — is insufficient to the monumental task of creating a fair playing field for U.S. and Colombian workers. Workers wait for justice.

The labor movement has fought for more than 20 years to include enforceable labor provisions in trade deals. Workers in the United States — and in our trading partners — have an economic interest in ensuring that basic rights are respected. If employers can violate the right to unionize with impunity, they can easily bring down wages, for all workers, globally.

That’s why the AFL-CIO, working with union federations from the other TPP countries, has offered suggestions to our government over the past five years to improve the labor chapter — and address the failures of prior trade deals.

Our recommendations include, among other things, the right to bring a labor claim based on a single egregious violation (such as a mass firing or violent attack), clear rules and deadlines that would require timely action on meritorious cases, protections for migrant workers, a ban on goods produced with forced or child labor, an independent secretariat to study and review labor practices and new standards related to labor inspections and decent work.

We don’t know yet whether any of our proposals made it into the TPP, since the text has not been made public. But the administration has given no public indication that our suggestions have been incorporated into its own negotiation text — let alone the negotiated draft. Until we hear something different, we remain unimpressed by the administration’s boasts about how strong and progressive the labor chapter is. We have heard those promises before.

Vietnam, Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia — all TPP countries — are notorious labor and human rights violators, currently out of compliance with the standards supposedly in the TPP. There is no known plan to withhold TPP benefits until these countries comply.

This raises serious doubts about whether the TPP will create a level playing field for workers. History shows we have one chance to get this right. That is why we oppose giving the Obama administration “fast-track” negotiating authority that would limit Congress’s ability to influence a final deal. The administration should release the TPP text and let the public judge for itself whether this deal will truly raise labor standards and conditions for workers when similar language included in past deals has been ineffective. Anything less is irresponsible.

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Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO.

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David Smith

TPP, TTIP, CETA & Global Treaties;
Shifting Costs to harmless Non Shareholders to Inflate ‘Profits & Dividends’.
Time to Cool off the ‘Stockbrokers’ again; Buy Gold?
‘Schadenfreude’ & the Public; Too ‘Unenlightened’ to Figure out ‘The Global Sleight of Mind’ Illusion.
– David ‘Copper’ Smith

Corporate America, Wall St., Congress; Deluded, or, Deluding; ‘IGNORAMUS et IGNORABIMUS’?

Global Treaties Not about How Much Trade, but, How to & Who to Trade with to ‘Undermine’ AIIB. About as Reversible as Wall St.’s ‘Derivatives’. How Can You Ensure that their are NO ‘Future Considerations’ Paid out by TPP, et al, ‘Foreign’ & Domestic Lobbyists?

Individual States & Provinces Jump at Opportunity to: Refuse, or, ‘Over Charge’ Business Licenses, Raise Targeting Prov./State Taxes, ‘Road’ Taxes, etc. to Recoup Global Treaties’ Suits (plus Earn Lucrative ‘Punitive Damages’) from Non Good Corporate Citizens (non-Compliant of Prov./State laws), Associated/Support Corps., Securities Exchanges, et al.

TPP, TTIP, CETA, et al, Shareholders ‘Persona non Grata’; Shareholders’ Meetings I.D. Toxic Neighbors, In-laws, et al.

The limited number of direct beneficiaries of the CETA, TPP & the other global treaties (ie. the global corporate leaders & their ‘preferred’ shareholders), are most desperate to keep from the prying, due diligence eyes of the potential global un-preferred shareholders’ & the harmless NON shareholders.

The fact of the matter is, the flurry of global treaties have very little to do with trade. The treaties are about ‘preferred’ trading partners who are successfully attempting to legitimize for the signatories of the treaty/’Arrangements’, settlements of the TPP’s ‘contrived’ disputes, et al, by enabling the parties to alleged ‘disputes’ to use non adversarial settlements whereby,

the corporations & preferred shareholders ‘merely’ shift all of their costs from themselves to the harmless NON shareholder & the un-preferred shareholders, ie. the general public/individual taxpayers.

These costs include the costs of determining:
1) which harmless non shareholders will have to pay corporations & some SHAREHOLDERS (‘preferred’ SHAREHOLDERS) for the corporations’ ‘mistakes’, contrivances, unrealistic, &/or, any expectations, etc.,
2) how high (win-fall) the punitive penalties, awards, damages, etc. will be
without the harmless NON shareholder being represented throughout the determination
of, not, if the NON shareholders are guilty, but, ‘merely’ how ‘guilty’ the harmless NON shareholders are with no means/opportunity to appeal the decisions by way of the Treaties’ (‘Death-Star-Chamber’) new superseding, cyber jurisdiction Tribunals,
&
3) et al.
***
For Further Information, see,
‘TPP & Global Treaties & Anti AIIB’.
Also see;
‘The Submission’ to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA:
“The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, the EU, et al
v
the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al”
including
‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’
(see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com)
***
TPP & GLOBAL TREATIES;
IS HOLLYWOOD PART of the (TPP Global Treaty & Anti AIIB) PROCESS, or, OUT-of-the LOOP, too?
– L.A. Times, Apr. 7, 2015, blog

It may regrettable that the simplest & most basic information & questions that can lead to a much more secure & profitable relationship between the potential signatories of the TPP & China, et al, has not been shared with Defense Secretary Carter for his humble consideration. Perhaps, he may consider answering some of the enclosed questions in order for us to get a better idea of what his understanding is of how the TPP & other Global Treaties can be vastly improved inclusively & thereby, minimize, &/or, eliminate the dangerous problems below that have led some to understand that

‘What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century (ie. provided the basis for World War II) PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st’.

Unless, of course, the long term economic destabilization and subsequent (secret) military weapons development & appropriations are the intent of DefSec Carter, et al, in the secret (Death-Star-Chamber) ‘arrangements’ of the TPP & the Global Corporate Treaties/Agreements.
***
But, how many ‘savvy’ Americans & their global corporate associates are ‘poised’ to make windfall profits from their international cross investments, ‘nest-feathered’ lawsuits & preplanned treaty ‘arrangements’ at the direct expense of the harmless non shareholders, ie. 95% – 99% of America, et al?
***
While the good sales folks of Wall St. may prefer to tell their ‘Enron-able’ customers who were also the victims of ‘The Preliminary Foray of The Wall St. Meltdown’, et al, that it’s just some Unions that are fighting back, how much of the Fighting Back of Unions against the Secret, Unethical & Anti-Democratic Arrangements of The Global Treaties’ ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunals, can be understood in the context of the harmless NON Shareholders, including Union members, fighting to Survive (not ‘thrive’) Against the Uncaring, ‘Profits at Any (body else’s) Costs’, SHAREHOLDERS & their Colluding, Global Corporate Leaders?
– Wall Street Journal, blog, Mar. 25, 2015
***

CETA, TTIP, TPP & GLOBAL TREATIES;

How Many Preferred Shares of TPP, C-CIT, TTIP, CETA, et al, Generated Enterprises are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for? ‘New’ Shareholders Can Over-Rule TPP, CETA, TTIP, et al, Plans?

But, If Not PUTIN; ‘The WHITE KNIGHT’, then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving of the harmless NON shareholders of the World from TPP’s, CETA’s (TTIP) Secret ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunal Penalties?
Will China, Iran, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?
How about Warren Buffett, &/or, the ‘coveted’ Hong Kong investor, et al?
***
FULL Article, see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com
***
Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 friends who will share it with 10 others…

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