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Mar
2015
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AFL-CIO to Halt Voluntary Political Contributions Until Trans-Pacific Partnership Fast-Track Vote Passes

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The AFL-CIO has decided to halt all voluntary political contributions until after a vote on fast-tracking the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  While the umbrella labor organization did not put this in writing, it seems it was discussed and agreed upon at a meeting in Atlanta.  The move puts the AFL-CIO in line with several of its unions which have been considering this approach.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has ramped up his activism on the issue of late, asking both union members and the country’s voters via Twitter if “we really want to enter into a trade deal with countries that abuse human rights.”  

A coordinated donations freeze would certainly up the pressure on Congress, which is being asked to fast-track TPP negotiations by the Obama Administration:

In an ultra-closed session here on Feb. 25, the AFL-CIO Executive Council agreed to a proposal, first advanced by Firefighters President Harold Schaitberger the day before, that pulled all political giving until after the fast-track vote in Congress.

In a recent video address, Trumka gave a simplified explanation of what fast-track would mean for the countries workers.

People’s World writer Mark Gruenberg explains how fast-track would effect future of trade agreements:

Fast-track would give President Obama and any president who comes after him, regardless of party, unlimited authority to secretly negotiate so-called “free trade” pacts with other nations. The authority would apply to secret negotiations now going on with 11 nations around the Pacific Ocean. A president would be able to ram trade deals through Congress with little or no debate or opportunity for amendment – just an up or down vote. This would be the case, of course, even with trade deals that make no provisions to protect the rights of labor in the countries involved.

The AFL-CIO has a petition for people who want their voice heard on the matter.

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