Teamsters

North America's Strongest Union

Poll Shows Public Doubt of Trade Deals

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There is a bipartisan political movement afoot in America – and it is against so-called “free” trade deals like the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new poll finds.

The survey, conducted for Politico and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that a majority of Democrats and Republicans believe that trade deals have cost the U.S. more jobs than they have created. And that has caused more and more GOP candidates running for office to come out against the TPP.

Of course, the Teamsters, other unions and fair trade allies have been sounding the alarm about the devastation such trade deals bring for decades. The TPP, for instance, is more than 5,000 pages of blather benefiting big business at the expense of everyday Americans who will suffer economically and could be left on the hook to cover costs if multinational corporations challenge U.S. law because they deem it to be unfair to their bottom lines.

The TPP’s Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision allows foreign corporations to sue the U.S. government in private tribunals which are de facto corporate courts run by three corporate lawyers who rotate between judging these cases and representing corporations. While this is undoubtedly a conflict of interest, there is no appealing the rulings.

In essence, this ISDS language gives overseas companies that come to this country even more rights and privileges than hard-working Americans and this nation’s own businesses receive. It also elevates these outside businesses to a level equal to the U.S. government by allowing them to sue this country in these special corporate courts.

With Election Day only six weeks away, it is important for workers to draw a line in the sand. First, they must use their vote to make clear to lawmakers that TPP should not be part of the nation’s future. Then, they need to follow up and make sure those on Capitol Hill don’t try to slip the deal through in the dead of night during a lame-duck session of Congress after the election.

Participating in government may not always be easy. But it is the one tool the public has to be heard. TPP is bad for the people, and this poll makes clear that they know it. Don’t  let elected officials try to tell you any different.

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