Jun 8, 2015
In the Congress, Democratic President Obama and the Republicans are pushing for a proposed trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership between the U.S. and 14 other countries. The unions are calling on the Democrats to block it.
Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO, says the agreement would “cost jobs and lower wages.” He points to NAFTA (the North American Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico), passed in 1993, which he says shows the danger of a trade agreement like this.
After NAFTA passed, manufacturing jobs continued to decline – but not because of NAFTA. By far the most important reason for the job loss was that productivity increased a lot faster than the sales of the products made, so fewer workers were needed to do the work. Workers were speeded up and overworked.
The capitalists have stepped up their exploitation of the working class, and the leaders of the unions did nothing to mobilize fights to stop it. They blamed NAFTA, pushing the idea that nothing could be done to stop the job loss once that treaty was in place. Now they are focusing their efforts, once more, on Congress, instead of leading a real fight to protect jobs and raise wages.
The problem of jobs and low pay facing the working class in this country is not caused by treaties, but by the bosses here that would lay off, cut pay and worsen working conditions. Our fight needs to be made against them at home.