Tim Burga, Ohio AFL-CIO President

Tim Burga, Ohio AFL-CIO President

Columbus, OH – Today (June 15, 2015) the United States Senate passed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, clearing the way for “fast track” consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

In reaction to TPA’s passage, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga issued the following statement:

“The passage of the Trade Promotion Authority bill will hurt Ohio workers, plain and simple.  “Fast track” consideration of the TPP, the biggest trade deal in history, will exclude the voices of workers and industry alike as it will now happen behind closed doors and without the input of constituencies as represented in Congress.”

“Past trade deals considered in a similar manner have hurt our economy and sent jobs overseas.  Our growing trade deficit will further expand under this new deal, costing us many more jobs.”

“Senator Portman’s vote for the bill was especially disappointing.  Even after Senator Portman tried and failed to address important deficiencies with the bill regarding the harmful practice of currency manipulation that many countries party to the deal have engaged in, he still supported the legislation.  So, by definition, Senator Portman voted for a bill that he knows will put Ohio industry and Ohio workers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace.  This issue has been of enormous consequence to major industries in Ohio including the steel and auto industry.  Without assurances that safeguards against unfair trade practices will be included in the deal, Senator Portman’s vote was reckless at best.  It is clear that Senator Portman is beholden to the interests that make billions of dollars by sending our jobs overseas and the voices of concerned workers across the state are lost on him.”