Celeste Drake, AFL-CIO
All I can say is: wow. I’ve been working on stopping Fast Track for years now and I can tell you that—even though Congress pulled some last-minute political maneuvering to get Fast Track passed last month—we beat all the odds and changed the game. And we did it together.
One year ago, if you had told me that Congress would vote against this awful legislation, I wouldn’t have believed you. But despite the arm-twisting from corporations and the 1%, we nearly got Congress to defeat Fast Track because of the pressure you and millions of others put on your legislators.
And now the real debate has begun. In the coming months, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the biggest trade deal in the history of U.S. trade deals—is going to be finalized, and Congress will have to vote on it. We need to make sure the TPP doesn’t sell out working people here and abroad, give foreign corporations special privileges to sue U.S. taxpayers to recover lost profits or undermine efforts to stop climate change.
When this Fast Track fight began, corporate CEOs and high-powered Washington lobbyists thought it was going to be a walk in the park. But because we put enough pressure on legislators by sending emails, making calls, taking action on social media and turning out for events, we slowed down and almost thwarted their plan to rubber stamp more bad trade deals that ship jobs overseas, lower wages and give more power to big corporations. This should send a strong signal to our elected leaders and the 1% that we’re not going to tolerate corporate CEOs and billionaires undermining our democracy.
We need to carry this momentum forward and tell our lawmakers to focus on policies to raise wages, so millions of working families don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads. And one way to do that is to ensure that the final TPP is as good for working people as President Barack Obama has said it is.
Leaked documents from the TPP negotiations (remember, the actual text is secret) show that some of the same problematic things included in past disastrous trade deals are being considered for the final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Things like the investor-state dispute settlement system, which allows corporations to sue governments if they feel a law or regulation cost them profits.
So this is only the beginning of our fight to demand better trade rules that benefit our families and communities.
P.S. Thank you again for all the actions you took to stop Fast Track. We’re strongest when we stand together.