Unions’ Anti-Trade AgendaPart III
By Rebekah Rast
It is no surprise that the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers, among other union groups, are opposed to the U.S.-South Korea free trade deal.
There aren’t many, if any, free trade deals they aren’t opposed to.
Their argument for this particular deal is “that it will drain U.S. manufacturing jobs and does not include worker and other protections unions had hoped President Obama would demand.”
In fact, a statement given by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated, “We’ve seen U.S. multinational companies take advantage of the investment and other corporate protections in past trade deals to shift production offshore, while maintaining access to the U.S. consumer market and undermining the jobs, wages and bargaining power of American workers… So long as these agreements fall short of protecting the broad interests of American workers and their counterparts around the world in these uncertain economic times, we will oppose them.”
If it is jobs that the unions are worried about then what about the fact that “South Korea, Colombia and Panama are together worth almost $13 billion of new sales for our U.S. goods and services?” This is according to Rep. Kevin Brady, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Trade.
Because of all the new sales, Rep. Brady went on to say, “We are going to create a lot of jobs and find new customers that will help us get out of this economic recession, if we can open those markets.”
Is it really American jobs the unions are worried about preserving or it is union jobs that concern them?
After all, the United Auto Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers support the trade agreement with South Korea. The United Food and Commercial Workers union support it for lowering agricultural tariffs, which will likely boost sales of U.S. meat and other foods. The United Auto Workers support the deal because it would reduce tariffs and other trade restrictions on American auto exports and continue American tariffs on Korean cars and trucks for an extended period.
Although unions argue that trade agreements negatively impact America’s job market, their argument doesn’t hold up when looking at the value of U.S. exports in connection with U.S. jobs.
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