The following is a statement by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa reflecting his comments on Thursday at the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth:
“On behalf of organized labor, I’d like to thank President Obama for holding this important forum.
“President Obama recognizes that creating good, sustainable jobs is the key to America’s economic growth. And the key to creating good, sustainable jobs is nurturing and protecting infant industries with strong potential to grow. We should be investing in clean and efficient energy technology that we can export to the world.
“Rebuilding our manufacturing base through exports won’t just help blue-collar workers. It will help the retailers, teachers, police officers, truck drivers and countless others who derive their livelihood from a strong manufacturing base, however indirectly.
“To rebuild manufacturing, we need to reform our trade policy and to review existing trade agreements. The TRADE Act of 2009 would go a long way to achieve that goal.
“The TRADE Act would make sure that the benefits of trade go to creating American jobs. It lays out the foundation of how a trade agreement should be negotiated and what it can and cannot include. Importantly, it will prevent future trade deals from banning policies to buy and source American components, products and services. It will prohibit privatization and deregulation requirements.
“We also need to enforce trade rules and international agreements. To that end, we support the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2009. The bill would require the U.S. Trade Representative to set priorities for its enforcement strategy and to work with countries that have a pattern of unfair trade practices.
“Finally, we need to bring down our trade deficit as part and parcel of any jobs strategy.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the administration on setting policies that create good, sustainable union jobs.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.