FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN DIEGO – February 25, 2015 – Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) joined the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO; the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice and Alliance San Diego at a press conference Monday, February 23rd to express opposition to the use of ‘fast track’ for a proposed international trade pact known as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
‘Fast Track’ would force Congress to relinquish their constitutional authority to review and amend a trade deal and ask them to make a take-it-or-leave-it decision on a twenty-nine chapter, one thousand-page agreement that was negotiated in secret.
“Trade Promotion Authority, known as ‘fast track’, is the authority Congress grants to the President to enter into certain reciprocal trade agreements,” stated Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51). “If fast track is approved, trade agreements would continue to be negotiated in private and outside of the democratic process without transparency or accountability.”
Rabbi Laurie Coskey, executive director of the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, echoed Vargas’ sentiment, adding “Traditional fast track authority is not consistent with democratic values of our country and the moral values of our faith communities. Any new grant of authority should allow for an open Congressional process, ensure broad consultation, transparency, meaningful public participation, and require that Congress certify that negotiating objectives for labor and the environment have been met before the President signs any agreement.”
Representatives from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Nurses Association of California/Union of Healthcare Professionals and the United Food and Commercial Workers joined members of the Communications Workers of America and International Union of Machinists, who had thousands of San Diego jobs outsourced as a result of misguided, failed trade policies of the past. Nationally, these policies are responsible for the loss of 1 million American jobs and the shuttering of 60,000 U.S. factories.
“We cannot afford another agreement that prioritizes corporate profits over American jobs,” said San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, Secretary-Treasurer Richard Barrera, “TPP would take our local and national communities down the wrong path by creating a lopsided economy that advances the interests of a single group — large, global corporations and the 1% — at the expense of small businesses, domestic manufacturers and our working families.”
This was the third community event to take place in the last week in opposition to ‘fast track’ and TPP. Last Thursday, February 19th, the Overpass Light Brigade projected a message from the Southern California Fair Trade Campaign over the Clairemont Drive overpass on Interstate 5. On Friday, February 20th, a group led by Citizen’s Trade held a rally with representatives from the labor and environmental community calling on Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) join Congressman Vargas (CA-51) in taking a stand against ‘fast track’ and TPP at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building.
MEDIA CONTACT: Samantha Peterson, San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO (619) 309-8169