ORFTC Fair Trade Monitor
Monthly fair trade update from the
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
In this issue:
1. Fast Track Update
2. "Six Ways TPP Opponents Have Won--Even As Fast Track Advances" by Sarah Anderson
3. Northwest Oregon Labor Council announces which Fast Track supporters won't be invited to Labor Day picnic
4. What we did this month
5. Upcoming Actions
1. Update on Fast Track for the TPP
Last week we saw a major attack on workers, the environment and democracy itself with the Senate's decision to move forward with Fast Track. If just one other Senator would have decided to listen to their constituents and oppose Fast Track instead of siding with corporate lobbyists, we would have boxed and buried Fast Track. But Republicans and the White House were able to make enough sweetheart deals that cloture for Fast Track passed with a single vote, 60-37.
Shamefully, Senator Ron Wyden broke his promise to Oregonians that he would fight for transparency in trade negotiations. He said that people deserve to know what is being negotiated in real time. This promise should have stopped him from voting for Fast Track, and his one vote could have prevented its passage. Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) means endorsing a back-room trade negotiating process by which hundreds of corporate lobbyists get access to trade texts and trade negotiators, while the public is shut out from even knowing what’s being proposed in our names until after the negotiations are completed and changes are all but impossible.
Fast Track was a tough loss. But we've seen enormous victories along the way. We defeated the Camp-Baucus fast track bill last year, and stopped the original Ryan-Hatch-Wyden bill in the House just a few week ago. Here in Oregon, our work delayed the vote for a year and a half!
We have a lot of be proud of. Our struggle against Fast Track built a movement. Allies from labor, environmental, immigrant rights, and access to medicines groups came together on a common front. We united against the largest, most powerful corporate interests in the world, and we came so close. It's a true testament to your good work and will lay the foundation for the next episode in the battle for people over profits!
Next is stopping the TPP itself. The clock is ticking on the TPP. There may not be enough time left in Obama's presidency to introduce the trade deal, and it has little to no chance of moving forward during the 2016 Presidential election. We have built tremendous momentum in this fight, and if we keep it up, victory is within reach.
Thank you for all your incredible work. Please take a moment to thank Sen. Merkley and Rep. DeFazio for standing up for Oregon values by opposing Fast Track for the TPP. Don't forget to send a message to Sen. Wyden and Reps. Blumenauer, Bonamici, and Schrader for walking away from workers and the environment by voting for it.
But don't stop there! We have lots of fun accountability actions coming up! See upcoming actions below!
By Sarah Anderson, June 24, 2015 in Yes Magazine
I tried to stay emotionally distanced from this one. It didn’t work. When the White House and Republican leaders got the votes they needed in the Senate to advance “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority on Tuesday, June 23, it was crushing.
All observers agree that fast track will soon become law, making it easier for President Barack Obama to pass the controversial trade pacts in the works with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union. That will be a serious setback to the movements for the environment, labor rights, and affordable pharmaceuticals, among others.
But after observing painful trade votes for more than 20 years, this one left me feeling that opponents should be holding their heads higher than ever before as they regroup for the next phase of the fight. Here are a few reasons why:
1. A diverse progressive coalition showed that people power can put up a real fight against big money.
The votes on fast track could not have been closer. The House vote was a razor-thin 218 to 208, while the Senate’s vote to cutoff debate passed without a single vote to spare.
The opposition included all the regulars from labor, environmental, faith, immigrant, food safety, and consumer groups. But some newish players also stepped up, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Internet access, as well as global health, civil rights, and civil liberties groups.
One result was more airtime for trade-related concerns that have been largely ignored in the past, including the anti-democratic investment rules and impacts on seafood safety, access to medicines, and climate.These new relationships will pay off in future fights. As Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers, put it, “Progressive forces have new energy from this fight.”
2. The battle exposed deep divisions within the United States, empowering allies in other countries.
U.S. Democratic congressional leaders did not roll over for this vote, so opponents in other countries can now count them on their side. And who knows what will happen when citizens of other countries, who are likely to be hard-hit by these deals, see the final text of the agreement?
The example of the Free Trade Area of the Americas is instructive here. After 11 years of negotiations, those 34-country talks collapsed in 2005. President George W. Bush had fast-track authority to pass the FTAA, but that turned out not to matter. In the end, Brazil and other South American countries refused to give in to the U.S. corporate-driven agenda.
3. The showdown drove a shift in the discourse.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who in 1993 voted in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement, rebuffed intense pressure from President Obama to support fast track and called for a “new paradigm” on trade. She called for global engagement that “enables voices from all aspects of the world's economies to be heard.”
Even former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, another NAFTA promoter, stated that “A reflexive presumption in favor of free trade should not be used to justify further agreements.” There were also signs of growing alliances across political lines, with perhaps the most notable example being a joint op-ed by the libertarian Cato Institute and the progressive Public Citizen.
[Click here to read the rest]
Congressional Supporters of Fast Track will not be invited to attend or speak at this year’s big Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park. On June 22, delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council — which sponsors the picnic — voted to withhold invitations to those who voted for fast tracking free trade agreements. That includes U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, and U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, and Kurt Schrader — all Democrats.
[Finish reading "Fast Track Trade Deals Signed Into Law" by Don McIntosh in NW Labor Press]
We held our Members of Congress accountable for supporting Fast Track with several fun and spirited actions this month!
Rep. Blumenauer Fast Track climate bike ride and flyering action (6/11/15) - Constituents rode and flyered around Portland as part of Pedalpalooza to call out Blumenauer for supporting Fast Track for the TPP despite the harm it will cause to the environment and the climate. During this action, Portlanders showed Blumenauer what REAL Climate Champions look like!
Rep. Bonamici accountability flyering (6/18/15) - Constituents posted flyers around Beaverton holding Bonamici accountable for turning her back on working families and the hundreds of thousands of small businesses who urged her to vote NO on Fast Track.
Rally at Sen. Wyden’s to Stop Fast Track (6/22/15) - In May, Senator Wyden said he would not vote on a Fast Track bill that didn’t include Trade Adjustment Assistance for workers. Over 100 workers, environmentalists, unions members, healthcare advocates, local Democratic Party members, activists, and others and gathered for a big rally outside Wyden’s Portland office to urge the Senator to keep his word and vote NO on the stand-alone Fast Track bill when it hit the Senate floor the next day. We are disappointed to report that Wyden ignored the overwhelming majority of his constituents and voted for the even worse Fast Track bill.
Rep. Blumenauer transformed from “missing climate champion” to “climate criminal” after his vote for Fast Track for the environmentally devastating TPP. ORFTC joined Rising Tide & 350 PDX for the Climate Action Ride and dropped this banner across from his office. (6/24/15)
Rep. Schrader’s Fast Track vote is screwing Oregonians out of jobs (6/30/15) - Constituents delivered a jar filled with screws to Rep. Schrader that represented the jobs in his district that have already been lost due to bad trade policy. We left the jar as a reminder of Oregon’s future under the TPP.
The Congressman claims to be an environmental and climate champion -- but his support of Fast Track and the TPP says otherwise. The TPP would increase rip-and-strip natural resource extraction and attack policies that fight climate change. (download & print)
The Congresswoman claims to stand for small local businesses in Oregon. In Oregon, only 6% of small and medium-sized businesses export any good to any country, and they can't afford the flood of cheap imports from TPP countries that have been subsidized by sweatshop labor and lack of environmental enforcement. (download & print)
The Congressman doesn't think we should worry about the secret TPP because “it's not finished.” More than 61,000 Oregon jobs have been certified as lost to offshoring or imports since NAFTA, resulting in stagnant wages across industries. Trade policies that erode the middle class sound like something to worry about. (download & print)
Senator Wyden promised to fight for transparency in TPP negotiations -- he said Oregonians deserve the right to know what’s being proposed in our names in real time; that we deserve the right to participate in the formative stages of the negotiations. Instead, he signed off on a plan that grants hundreds of corporate lobbyists from companies like Walmart, Chevron, and Cargill access to TPP negotiations -- but we don’t get to see them until after the negotiations are over and changes are all-but-impossible. (download & print)
You can also pick up flyers outside our office in Portland: 310 SW 4th Ave., Suite 436 (6am-6pm M-F & 8am-1pm on Sat). Flyer with friends after happy hour, an ice cream social, or pot-luck picnic, or by yourself on the way home from work. Don't forget to take lots of pictures and post them to our Fast Track Accountability Flyering Facebook page or tweet them to your Member of Congress: @repblumenauer, @RepBonamici, @RepSchrader, @RonWyden
Bird-dogging Wyden: Wyden is using this Congressional recess to go on a tour of Oregon’s ‘7 wonders.’ That gives us 7 opportunities to confront him about why he sided with corporations over constituents in voting for Fast Track! Here’s his itinerary: (send a message to Robyn@Oregonfairtrade.org to let us know how it went!)
June 30: Crater Lake - 11 a.m. at Crater Lake Lodge, 565 Rim Drive.
July 1: Mount Hood - 12:00pm at Timberline Lodge, 27500 E. Timberline Rd., Government Camp. *Blumenauer will also be there.
July 1: Smith Rock - 4:30 p.m. at Terrebonne Depot, 400 NW Smith Rock Way, Terrebonne. *Blumenauer will also be there.*
July 2: Painted Hills - 10 a.m. at the Painted Hills unit picnic area.
July 3: Wallowas - 11:30 a.m. at the Wallowa Lake Lodge, 60060 Wallowa Lake Hwy., Joseph.
July 4: Columbia Gorge - 2:30 p.m. at Brian’s Windsurfing, 110 Portway Ave., Hood River.
July 5: Oregon Coast - 1 p.m. at Fort George Brewery and Public House, 1483 Duane St, Astoria.
July 5: Oregon Coast - 4 p.m., Main Street walk in Cannon Beach.
Create a giant Q-Tip to deliver to district offices with the message, “Sen./Rep. Wyden/Blumenauer/Bonamici/Schrader doesn’t seem to be able to hear his/her constituents -- we hope this will help!”
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Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
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Portland, OR 97204
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