CWA delegates lead march against Trans-Pacific Partnership

More than 200 people, many delegates to the CWA District 7 Convention, march along Nicollet Mall to a rally against fast-track approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

More than 200 people, many delegates to the CWA District 7 Convention, march along Nicollet Mall to a rally against fast-track approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

More than 200 activists marched along Nicollet Mall downtown Minneapolis today before rallying in Peavey Plaza against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive, NAFTA-style trade pact being negotiated in secret by the U.S. and 11 other countries with Pacific shorelines.

The Communications Workers of America, holding a district convention in Minneapolis this week, organized the march. Dressed in red CWA shirts, delegates spilled over from the sidewalks into the streets, carrying signs warning that the TPP would put American workers and consumers at risk.

CWA President Larry Cohen addresses the TPP rally in Peavey Plaza.

CWA President Larry Cohen addresses the TPP rally in Peavey Plaza.

“We need fair trade, not fast track,” CWA President Larry Cohen said at the rally, referencing efforts afoot in Congress to force an up-or-down vote on the TPP without amendments. “We have to say this to the White House, loud and clear.”

An agreement as far-reaching as the TPP, which would encompass more than one-third of the world’s trade, warrants vigorous public debate, Cohen added. Yet TPP negotiations are classified, keeping both the media and members of Congress mostly in the dark.

“We’re still waiting,” Cohen said. “When do we get to have a say on these trade deals? When do we get to see this trade deal? We need our say.”

Among the 600 “cleared advisers,” who have greater access to TPP drafts than most members of Congress, are representatives of Verizon – a company whose workers CWA represents across the country. “Can you hear us now?” activists shouted at Verizon’s offices atop a downtown Minneapolis skyscraper.

Union leaders fear the TPP, like NAFTA and other trade agreements before it, will make it easier for multinational corporations to offshore U.S. jobs to countries with lower wages and fewer environmental and safety regulations – especially since it is being negotiated with more corporate input than public oversight.

“Thousands of people are about to lose out big time, but not if we can stop this terrible trade policy,” said Josh Wise, director of the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition.

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  1. […] August 21, 2013 Source: Teamster Nation About 200 Teamsters and other union members  marched against the  corporate-dominated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a protest in downtown Minneapolis  yesterday afternoon. They targeted companies […]

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