Union members urge Klobuchar to take a stand against Fast Track

CWA Minnesota State Council President Mona Meyer speaks at a trade demonstration outside Sen. Amy Klobuchar's offices in Minneapolis.

CWA Minnesota State Council President Mona Meyer speaks at a trade demonstration outside Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s offices in Minneapolis.

Union members today called on U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar to take a stand against efforts in Congress to put job-killing free-trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the fast track.

Members of the Communications Workers of America marked a worldwide day of action against the TPP – the NAFTA-style trade agreement being negotiated in secret by 12 countries in Asia and the Americas – by leading a demonstration outside Klobuchar’s office in Minneapolis.

“We are not against trade, we are against free trade,” CWA State Council President Mona Meyer told more than a dozen activists who joined the demonstration. “Under the TPP more American jobs would be offshored. Internet freedom would be a joke. Developing countries would lose access to life-saving medicines. Unsafe foods and products would pour into our country.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

[Click here to learn how you can take action against the job-killing TPP free trade agreement.]

CWA members targeted their message at Klobuchar, Meyer said, because the senator voted in favor of free trade agreements with Korea and Panama that “have decimated jobs in America.” Klobuchar also has not taken a stance against the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act, introduced in the U.S. House earlier this month and better known as “Fast Track authorization.”

Unions are part of a broad coalition of groups, including environmental and family-farm organizations, urging members of Congress to reject Fast Track, which would force Congress to take an up-or-down vote on trade agreements without offering amendments.

The complexity of modern trade agreements, Meyer said, requires more – not less – congressional oversight.

“We voted for Sen. Klobuchar to work for us,” Meyer said. “One of her job responsibilities is to negotiate trade agreements, not give up her vote.”

Klobuchar’s Minnesota colleague, Al Franken, was one of 12 senators who signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressing concern that Fast Track shirks the responsibility placed on Congress by the Constitution to oversee trade policy.

Reid appears to have heeded their advice, announcing yesterday that he is opposed to Fast Track. Now it’s time for Klobuchar to do the same, St. Paul Regional Labor Federation President Bobby Kasper said.

“We need Sen. Klobuchar to speak out and oppose Fast Track and this bad trade deal for workers, farmers and jobs,” he said.

CWA members deliver a letter to Klobuchar's office urging her to take a stand against Fast Track trade authorization.

CWA members deliver a letter to Klobuchar’s office urging her to take a stand against Fast Track trade authorization.

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