Government affairs

Legislative Updates

Union presidents urge lawmakers to reject fast-tracking trade deals

Yesterday, the NALC—along with 59 AFL-CIO–affiliated unions—sent a letter to House and Senate lawmakers, opposing the use of the “fast track” authority that can be used to advance trade deals. Enacting “fast track” authority would allow the U.S. government to agree to such deals behind closed doors, leaving Congress with no ability to amend the trade agreements—there would simply be an up-or-down vote.

Letter carriers have a direct stake in the outcome of trade talks. For example, in the trade negotiations over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the U.S. and the European Union, the EU is demanding an agreement that would outlaw the U.S. Postal Service’s monopoly on the delivery of mail, a policy that has been adopted across Europe and that has led to a wave of privatization there.

In the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations within the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Europeans are making the same demand.

In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, Wall Street banks are insisting that negotiators ban postal banking.

If all of these deals are approved, they would threaten the jobs of letter carriers and they would weaken the long-term viability of the Postal Service.

The unions’ letter demonstrates the unity between workers who have jobs that are directly impacted by bad trade deals and workers whose jobs are indirectly affected. The letter kicks off a campaign by the AFL-CIO against “fast track” authority. Be on the lookout for additional details as “fast track” discussions begin on Capitol Hill.

For more information about “fast track,” click here.

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