Labor unions ramp up opposition to Obama trade agenda

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The AFL-CIO is ramping up its efforts this week to convince Congress to oppose giving the White House fast-track authority on trade.

The labor group is holding events across the country as part of a “week of action” on trade.

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“The week of action will increase the political momentum and grassroots opposition to fast track the same week Congress is expected to begin consideration of a trade promotion authority bill,”  the AFL-CIO said in a statement.

Lawmakers, labor union leaders and their members will hold a rally Wednesday on Capitol Hill and follow that up with 50 grassroots events around the country and in more than a dozen countries on Saturday as part of the weeklong effort. 

Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), as well as United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre and Sierra Club National Campaign Director Debbie Sease, are among those expected to attend the Wednesday event in the Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill.

The efforts include letter-writing campaigns, phone calls, petitions and door-knocks. 

“The grassroots movement against fast track is nationwide — and it’s not just labor,” said Celeste Drake, the AFL-CIO’s trade policy specialist.

“It’s folks from the environmental, consumer, faith, farm, business and good governance communities as well. And we’re having an impact.”