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A Not-So-Modest Proposal to Reform NAFTA

AFL-CIO Weblog - Tue, 2017-11-14 12:30
A Not-So-Modest Proposal to Reform NAFTA

The next NAFTA negotiation round officially begins Nov. 17, and the news isn't all bad. It may sound crazy, but the same administration that put a Goldman Sachs and OneWest operative in charge of the Treasury Department and an anti-public school advocate in charge of the Department of Education recently made a NAFTA proposal that would nearly eliminate the private corporate justice system known as ISDS (investor-to-state dispute settlement).

This proposal alone is not enough to fix NAFTA's many shortcomings, but it is a step in the right direction. As trade activists know, ISDS is nothing more than a crony capitalist giveaway that reduces our power as citizens to impact our government. It gives foreign companies the right to use private tribunals to attack local, state and national decisions they deem not "fair and equitable." This private justice system has been used to attack worker training programs, local building permit decisions and even criminal indictments of corporate CEOs.

For the United States, NAFTA’s ISDS means our democratic choices are threatened and foreign companies have as much sovereignty as the U.S. government. It acts like a free insurance policy that rewards outsourcing. It provides an edge for foreign companies over small, local businesses. For our trading partners, the corporate power of ISDS is even more insidious, because their governments are not as powerful as our own. In other words, it is a win-win for global companies (no matter what country they like to call "home") and a lose-lose for workers that makes it even harder to join together to negotiate for better wages—no matter where we live or work.

The U.S. proposal, designed by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, would allow each NAFTA party to opt out of being sued by foreign investors. More importantly, for those who opt in, it would eliminate claims based on the vague and easily abused "fair and equitable treatment" standard. It reportedly even would close a loophole that would allow U.S. companies to "pretend" to be foreign companies so they can seek U.S. taxpayer funds in these private kangaroo courts.

As you might imagine, corporate CEOs and their powerful lobbies are freaking out about this proposal. They are panicked that they might lose this special privilege and have to play on a more level playing field.

We don’t know whether this proposal will make it into any final renegotiated NAFTA, and even if it does, there are lots of other things that need to be improved, including labor protections, currency rules and the right to label meat by country of origin. But this is one bright ​proposal in times of extreme challenge for North American working families.​

To get involved this week, the most important thing you can right now do is ask your member of Congress to speak up for higher wages and labor standards in NAFTA. We need to keep pushing for trade rules that work for all working people. 

*Note: Given the secrecy of the NAFTA proposals, we know a lot about the details about the ISDS proposal because they have been extensively reported in the media.  

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:30

Tags: NAFTA

2017 Election Update: New Jersey Labor Candidate Victories Rise to 964

AFL-CIO Weblog - Tue, 2017-11-14 12:01
2017 Election Update: New Jersey Labor Candidate Victories Rise to 964 New Jersey AFL-CIO

Labor won big this year, and the news just got better. After a tight race for Florence Township Council, our brother from LIUNA Local 172, Frank Baldorossi Jr., prevailed. The final vote tally was 645–624, a difference of only 21 votes. We also congratulate IBEW Local 351 Brother Steve Light, who was elected to serve as a member of the Absecon City Council, and our brother from IBEW Local 3, Michael Soriano, who secured a major victory in his race for Parsippany mayor.

We are also looking forward to adding another victory for IUOE Local 68 Sister Dahlia Vertreese, who secured enough votes to trigger a runoff election on Dec. 5, 2017 to determine who will be mayor of Hillside. With the continued unified support of our central labor councils and building trades councils, this is exactly what we will do.

These results bring the all-time total number of labor candidate victories to 964. There is no question that the support and solidarity of union members across the state made the difference in these races. Through the Labor 2017 program in New Jersey, we knocked on 450,000 doors, made 300,000 phone calls and distributed 425,000 pieces of local union mail.

There is no other movement that is able to mobilize like organized labor, and we are already shifting our momentum to achieving bold policies that will uplift workers and build a long-term sustainable economy that works for all. After eight years of the destructive Chris Christie agenda, we are ready to get to work. With labor elected officials serving at all levels of New Jersey government, we are positioned to shape the future of our state to reflect our union voice and middle-class values.

Once again, none of this would have been possible if not for the tireless work of thousands of union volunteers, national, state and local affiliates, central labor councils and building trades councils representing every sector of our proud movement. This is what unionism is all about: building a collective voice in the workplace and in the community to speak out for justice for all.

This post originally appeared at New Jersey State AFL-CIO.

Kenneth Quinnell Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:01

Justice Department Allegedly Demands Sale Of CNN

The Onion - Tue, 2017-11-14 11:53

The Department of Justice has reportedly demanded Time-Warner sell off CNN before merging with AT&T, a move some have attributed to President Trump’s anger at the news network. What do you think?

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Categories: The Onion

Jared And Ivanka Holding Each Other At Gunpoint In Kitchen After Simultaneously Revealing Undercover Identities

The Onion - Tue, 2017-11-14 11:23

WASHINGTON—Both shouting “FBI, you’re under arrest!” as they grabbed hidden pistols from behind the refrigerator and the back of the pantry, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were reportedly holding each other at gunpoint in their kitchen Monday after simultaneously revealing their undercover identities. “I’m afraid

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Categories: The Onion

USA : Govt workers defy attempt to weaken their unions

LabourStart US - Tue, 2017-11-14 10:01
Source: Pekin Daily Times

USA : Staff Council broaches topic of unionizing

LabourStart US - Tue, 2017-11-14 09:50
Source: Northern Lights

Thanksgiving Dinner at Florian Hall

local718.org Current Articles Feed - Tue, 2017-11-14 05:53
 Brothers  & Sisters,
Categories: PFFM

Thanksgiving Dinner at Florian Hall

local718.org What's New Feed - Tue, 2017-11-14 05:53
 Brothers  & Sisters,

Braintree committee approves East Middle School

Massachusetts Labor News - Tue, 2017-11-14 01:00
Source:patriotledger.com
Categories: Union Web Services

Allston Interchange Pike Redo to Cost $1B

Massachusetts Labor News - Tue, 2017-11-14 01:00
Source:boston.com
Categories: Union Web Services

Feasability Study for South Middle

Massachusetts Labor News - Tue, 2017-11-14 01:00
Source:patch.com
Categories: Union Web Services
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