Yesterday, Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO national federation of labor unions, acknowledged that the White House has been going around his back to try to get individual locals (local branches of unions) on board for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Not only is this tactic disrespectful to a long-time ally, but it’s futile — labor is united against a treaty that would further erode worker protections and environmental safeguards.
But the administration is pressing hard for the passage of the bill — former White House staffers have formed an astroturf advocacy group called the Progressive Coalition for American Jobs, which appears to be neither progressive, nor a coalition. Under fire from the left for a lack of transparency, PCAJ has declined to name any of its members or sources of its funding.
The TPP, called “NAFTA on Steroids” by progressives, has been roundly criticized as a giveaway to multinational corporations. And the pushback is bipartisan — detractors decry the Investor State Dispute Settlement courts that would undermine U.S. sovereignty by allowing corporations to sue the government for any regulations that impede their profits. Wall Street is the oft-cited example, given that derivatives trading is hugely lucrative and a frequent target of regulators.
Trumka called the TPP a handout to Wall Street, and I asked him to explain why… Subscribe to The Undercurrent on YouTube for more on-the-ground, independent political reporting.