A packed house in Toledo of over 300 union members, elected officials, and community partners rallied with US Senator Sherrod Brown, US Representative Marcy Kaptur, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, and United Auto Workers District 2-B Director Ken Lortz against Fast Track legislation and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Monday, March 30 in Toledo.
“The last two decades of ‘Fast Track’ trade deals, beginning with NAFTA, have devastated Ohio’s manufacturing economy and the scars of industrial decay are visible in local communities across the state.,” said Burga. “The proposed ‘Fast Track’ of the TPP represents the same flawed approach to international trade and should be replaced by a new model that focuses on raising wages globally and shared prosperity. Made in America should be more than a slogan it should be the priority for all economic policy advanced by congress and the president.”
Speakers included Tiffin’s Vinny Geieto, who lost his job as a result of NAFTA as he explained the harmful effects this bad trade deal would have on our economy and communities.
Mr. Gaietto described how in 2002 the American Standard Co. plant that he was employed at delivered take-it-or-leave-it offers to about 700 workers after it had set up competing operations in Mexico under NAFTA. “We must fight “for fair trade, not free trade.”
Attendees wrote letters to Senator Portman urging him to oppose Fast Track. Moment was captured and moved out on social media as well as being covered by Toledo and Detroit area news sources.
Warren, OH hosted a forum with over 200 members and concerned community members on Saturday, March 28, as Sen. Brown joined Burga and Congressman Tim Ryan for a similar forum near Youngstown where the message was still the same, according to Ryan.
“Our trade deficit will only grow with the TPP and cost us more jobs,” said U.S. Sen. Brown. “We can beat this agreement. We know what happens when we don’t.”
It isn’t only people, but communities that can suffer when a plant shuts down, Ryan said.
“What happens when you lose a plant?” he said. “What happens to cities’ budgets? What happens to the mental-health levy, the school levy, the library levy, the 20 bucks you throw in the basket at church,” asked Ryan. “That all goes away. You’ve got to make something,” he said. “You’ve got to produce something. We’re losing the driver of the economy.”