Labor groups rally against trade promotion authority

Labor groups rally against trade promotion authority
© Getty Images
 
Organized labor rallied Wednesday on Capitol Hill in its latest blitz against the White House’s efforts to obtain trade powers that would move agreements more easily through Congress. 
 
Congressional Democrats joined union leaders and workers in swarming a Senate-side park in their latest effort to urge Congress to defeat trade promotion authority. About 1,200 supporters were in attendance, according to an estimate by the rally's hosts.
 
Led by the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers, the rally punctuated months of nearly continuous campaigning to convince Democrats that opposing so-called fast-track authority is the only way to stop bad trade deals.  
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
“The last thing we need is another trade deal negotiated behind closed doors and rushed through Congress,” he said at the event. 
 
Amid expectations that the Senate could soon reach an agreement on a fast-track bill, which would only give Congress an up-or-down vote on any trade deal that reaches Capitol Hill, labor unions have ramped up their push against it. 
 
 
Very few Democrats in the House have expressed support for fast-track, and labor unions are trying to wipe out any shot that a bill could get through Congress and boost the chances that a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal can get done. 
 
Brown urged the boisterous crowd to keep up the pressure on their lawmakers, arguing that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an agreement that represents “a huge shift from democratically elected governments to huge corporations.”
 
 
Warren answered her own second question with “corporate giants.”
 
J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said workers shouldn’t just say “no” to fast-track, they should say “hell no,” getting a chant started that echoed across the Capitol grounds. 
 
More than a dozen House and Senate Democrats joined the anti-fast-track rally that is part of week of events. 
 
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who is vying to replace retiring Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiLobbying World Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar MORE, did a 360 on the stage and asked the crowd, “do I look like a rubber stamp?”
 
 
“These trade agreements have been pushed by corporate America for one simple reason,” he said. “They want to shut down plants in America, throw workers on the street and move jobs to China or other low wage countries.”