Category Archives: Buy Union

Machinist Union President Responds to TPP

October 05, 2015


The following is a statement from International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) International President Tom Buffenbarger regarding terms of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership:

“As a labor union whose members build products that are exported all over the world, the IAM has always taken a strong interest in the development and growth of international trade. We know firsthand that trade done right will improve living standards and strengthen our economy to the benefit of all Americans. Unfortunately, the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a new low in corporate dominance of our nation’s trade agenda. Despite the rhetoric, this deal represents a step backward in efforts to achieve effective labor standards and human rights.

Negotiated in secret by and for multinational corporations that have no allegiance to any flag or country, the TPP will facilitate the export of American jobs to countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Mexico which lack fundamental labor rights, some of which even engage in slave labor. Reports of a secret side agreement with Vietnam are especially offensive to anyone who takes internationally recognized labor standards seriously.

Earlier this year, Congress passed Fast Track legislation that laid out an ambitious set of negotiating goals that we, and others, warned were completely unenforceable. Reports indicate that we were correct in our assumption about the congressional negotiating goals; the U.S. Trade Representative simply ignored them. Although the agreement has not been made public yet, these reports indicate that, substandard labor standards remain weak and ineffective, currency manipulation has not been effectively addressed, rules of origin for autos are greatly weakened, access to affordable medicines is reduced, post Great Recession financial regulations were made less effective, and secret non-governmental tribunals will interpret and enforce the agreement.

As job and income growth continue to stagnate, Americans know that the economic system is rigged against them and the TPP is just the latest example. Congress must put the American people first and reject this deeply flawed trade agreement.”

TPP = NAFTA on steroids

Republicans in Congress want to work with the Obama administration to fast-track the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The TPP is the largest—and worst—trade deal you’ve never heard of, having been devised in secret by representatives of some of the world’s largest corporations.

It’s so big and has the potential to do so much damage, it’s been likened to “NAFTA on steroids.”


Sherrod Brown Introduces ‘Wear American Act’

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Soon, government-issued uniforms for federal workers may no longer don clothing tags imprinted with the words “Made in China.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has introduced a bill that would require the federal government to only buy apparel that is 100 percent made in America.

Brown says the Wear American Act is imperative for a number of reasons. First, shifting production back to the U.S. would boost manufacturing and prevent the nation’s trade deficit from expanding.

Second, it’s an economic stimulus. The federal government currently spends approximately $1.5 billion a year on federal employee uniforms made overseas.

It’s also about worker rights and safety, says the Senator, who explains that the bill allows for waivers in such cases where the items cannot be domestically-sourced, but the government will only be allowed to do business with contractors in compliance with labor, safety and child labor laws.

“It’s bad enough it’s not made by American workers,” said Brown. “It’s five times worse if it’s made by workers who often are children and not treated well. That’s shameful, and that’s the first thing we fix.”

Under current law, 51 percent of federal workers’ apparel must come from U.S. manufacturers. There has been serious concern by the labor movement about the failure and the lack of oversight of the federal government in reaching that benchmark.

Brown says under the bill, federal contractors will be required to disclose the locations of their factories and working conditions to the General Services Administration.
Source: Machinist News Network