Unionists, Greens Start "Repair America" Drive, Warn Of Perils Of "Free Trade" Pacts

Monday, February 17, 2014

Unionists, Greens Start (Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Unionists and green groups, seeking to create well-paying union jobs and improve the environment, are embarking on a “Repair America” campaign they hope will resonate with voters concerned about low incomes, citizens worried about climate change and lawmakers who will respond to pressure on both. The campaign, discussed at the Green Jobs Good Jobs conference in D.C. on Feb. 9-11, got its congressional kickoff with an indoor Capitol Hill rally last week jammed with Steelworkers, led by union President Leo Gerard, and lawmakers headed by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Its objective: To convince citizens and Congress to back massive funding for repairing and rebuilding the creaky, crumbling U.S. infrastructure of unsound bridges, leaky water pipes, energy-inefficient schools, homes and hospitals, crumbling highways and rails split by extreme heat and cold. The perils of so-called “free trade” pacts, especially the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 other Pacific Rim nations, also took the stage at the conference. Union leaders such as Communications Workers President Larry Cohen and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined environmentalists in warning that the TPP would cost U.S. jobs and harm the world’s climate, because the TPP would let corporations challenge federal, state and local laws and rules – everything from local hazardous waste ordinances to Buy America requirements – as restraints on present or future profits.  Secret panels of trade-oriented attorneys, not federal courts, would hear the cases and there would be no appeals from their rulings. - Press Associates, Inc.


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