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Union Leaders Warn Of New Trade Agreements

Teamsters, Public Services International Host Global Summit

Meeting with global leaders of public sector unions this fall, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and officials from Public Services International (PSI) discussed the growing concerns about the effects of trade policies during a policy summit held at Teamsters headquarters. About 60 representatives from public employees unions around the world participated in the summit.

“New trade agreements will have a detrimental impact on public sector jobs and services in the U.S. and across the world,” Hoffa said. “The Teamsters Union and the other unions represented at this summit oppose trade deals that threaten service sector workers just as we always have for workers who produce goods that families rely on.”

“The new wave of trade agreements are about far more than trade,” said Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of PSI. “They enshrine the power of corporations in ways only loosely related to trade. They lock in liberalization, promote privatization and restrict governments’ right to regulate. The global financial crisis made clear the catastrophic results of failing to adequately regulate the financial markets. From global warming to the Rana Plaza disaster, up to Ebola, our world is confronted with national and global challenges highlighting the tragic consequences of failing to make and enforce decent rules for the benefit of all in our societies.”

“The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) isn’t against trade or trade agreements, but we need to ensure these agreements will not weaken the democratic process, the ability to have shared and growing prosperity for all, and the will of the community, including the voice of the frontline worker,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.

During the summit, officials from PSI presented their view on the shortcomings of free trade agreements and how trade-in-service agreements would have devastating results on public service jobs.

“It will be the same for service workers as it is for the manufacturing workers—the bosses get their NAFTA and their CAFTA and the workers get the SHAFTA,” Hoffa said. “And with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) looming, as well as the lesser-known Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), there is reason for real concern.”

Also, a new special report, “The Really Good Friends of Transnational Corporations Agreement,” was released. The objective of the report is to help overcome the secrecy and complexity surrounding the TISA negotiations in order to bring the agreement into the public sphere for democratic debate. To read the report, visit

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