The United Steelworkers (USW) has released the following statement from USW
International President Leo W. Gerard in response to President Obama’s
request for new fast-track trade authority and Sen. Orrin Hatch’s call for
limited Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA):
“Unfortunately, the President and Congress appear poised to renew the
outdated, failed trade policies of the past by discussing the provision of
fast-track trade negotiating authority without vital updates and reforms.
Why would we want to adopt the old model when it has so clearly resulted in
rising trade deficits, rising unemployment, rising income inequality and
rising misfortune for so many? As we seek to restore long-term growth in our
economy, the last thing we should do is undermine our prospects with
outdated trade policies.
“Sen. Hatch seems to think that Trade Adjustment Assistance is a ‘gift’ to
labor that will mute our opposition to fast track. He should talk to the
companies and workers in his state who filed dozens of requests for, and
received, TAA benefits over the last years as to whether they see the
program as a gift. Most of them likely would question whether, after getting
kicked in the teeth by international trade, the provision of an economic
Band-Aid is a gift or something they are due because of failed government
policies which cost them their jobs.
“America’s competitiveness has been undermined by a lack of investment in
skills, training, infrastructure, technology and manufacturing. Our ability
to access new markets has been thwarted by foreign unfair trade practices
such as currency manipulation, subsidies and predatory policies of
state-owned enterprises. Providing the tools our workers and companies need
to compete and addressing the harm done by unfair trade are not gifts;
they’re simple common sense.”
The USW represents 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the
Caribbean. It is the largest private-sector union in North America,
representing workers in a range of industries including metals, mining,
rubber, paper and forestry, oil, health care, security, hotels, municipal
governments and agencies.