Friday, 01 May 2015 00:00

Pittsburgh City Council Passes Resolution Against Fast Track

Written by Natalia Rudiak, Councilperson

On April 21st the Pittsburgh City Council took a stand against Fast Track.

WHEREAS, the Council of the City of Pittsburgh strongly supports international fair trade practices and agreements that foster economic growth and high standards for labor, our environment, and public health; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is a trade-dependent state in which exports directly or indirectly support nearly 1.6 million jobs at more than 15,000 businesses, and exports from Pennsylvania totaled more than $40 billion in 2013, including $10 billion from the Pittsburgh area.

WHEREAS, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will likely involve policy matters related to intellectual property, labor, human rights, agriculture, natural resources, the environment, government procurement, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, energy, and others, all important to our city, other local jurisdictions, and Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, fair trade practices and agreements should promote the creation of family-wage jobs, encourage shared prosperity, protect our environment, ensure the safety of food and other products, revitalize manufacturing, and ensure local governments can regulate for high standards;

WHEREAS, the TPP, like other international trade deals, is being negotiated in closed-door negotiating sessions between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations and has not been made available to the public or state and local elected officials; and

WHEREAS, the January 2015 draft of the Investment Chapter of the TPP includes “Investor- 2 State Dispute Settlement” provisions that could give multinational corporations excessive power to undermine national and local governmental authority to create reasonable rules and regulations, including those related to environmental safeguards, future climate policy, food safety standards, and specific protections for American jobs; and

WHEREAS, 151 members of Congress, including Congressman Mike Doyle of Pittsburgh, have signed a letter calling on our trade representatives to consult with Congress to pursue a more transparent and inclusive legislative process for consideration of the TPP; and

WHEREAS, the President has asked Congress to approve the TPP under "Fast Track" procedural rules, which limit our Congressional representatives’ ability to adequately review, debate and amend the TPP and make a determination as to whether the TPP is in the best interests of the American people and our local residents.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh urges congress to oppose “Fast Track” authority in its current form for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and instead, urges the President and Congress to conduct a fully transparent and inclusive legislative process for consideration of the TPP; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that City Council strongly supports fair trade practices and agreements that protect American jobs, protect workers, protect the environment, include enforceable labor and environmental standards, improve the quality of life in all signatory countries, maintain the integrity and sovereignty of our judicial system, and do not give multinational corporations excessive power to undermine national and local governmental authority to create reasonable rules and regulations; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that City Council urges President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to negotiate a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that meets the above principles.

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Put Trade in the Spotlight

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were united suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum.

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