A coalition of workers, environmentalists and family farmers braved the cold outside Rep. Ron Kind’s La Crosse office this afternoon to call on the Congressman to vote ‘no’ on “Fast Track” procedures for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Concerned about job loss, food safety and environmental standards, the coalition of workers and community members urged Rep. Kind to reconsider his support for a 12-nation NAFTA like trade deal which could result in job loss for the 1st Congressional District.
“Why is Rep. Kind supporting “Fast Track” of the TPP?” asked David Newby, President of the Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition. “The TPP is a toxic trade agreement that will cost constituents countless jobs and erode any economic recovery that has been made in the US. The TPP threatens the safety of our food and will result in good-paying Wisconsin jobs being shipped to low-wage foreign countries in a never-ending race to the bottom.”
“The only winners in the TPP trade deal are corporations and wealthy special interests whose unceasing greed threatens the very core of the American middle class,” said Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “History has proven that trade deals are no good for the American worker. The TPP would cost Wisconsin workers jobs.”
“It is shameful that this deal is being negotiated in secret and rushed through Congress on a “Fast Track” before the public even gets a chance to even see what the details are,” said Bill Brockmiller, President of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “We deserve transparency. To negotiate this deal in secret is undemocratic.”
To push through the TPP, Congress is being asked to grant the president what is called “Fast Track” authority. Fast Track would let the president sign trade deals before Congress even gets to vote on them. “Fast Track” requires a Congressional vote on the trade agreement within 60 days, limits debate to 20 hours, and prohibits amendments. Rep. Kind is a co-chair of the "Friends of the TPP Caucus" which is currently pushing for Fast Track to be re-enacted.
City of La Crosse residents are also encouraging the City of La Crosse to follow the City of Madison and Dane County’s lead and pass a TPP free zone type measure. First consideration of such a measure is on the agenda for City of La Crosse’s next Executive Committee meeting on December 17.
• WXOW Channel 19, Locals protest proposed US trade agreement
• LA Crosse Tribune, Labor, farmer, trade groups urge Kind to pull support on pact