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realFedUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-28-05 10:28 AM
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FTAA - Free Trade Area of the Americas
This is the big burrito of trade bills...inform yourselves. /

Free Trade Area of the Americas

FTAA Negotiations Miss Jan. 1, 2005 Deadline; Talks Are Dead in the Water

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), currently being negotiated by 34 countries of the Americas, is intended to be the most far-reaching trade agreement in history. Although it is based on the model of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it goes far beyond NAFTA in its scope and power. The FTAA, as it now stands, would introduce into the Western Hemisphere all the disciplines of the proposed services agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) - the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) - with the powers of the failed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), to create a new trade powerhouse with sweeping new authority over every aspect of life in Canada and the Americas.

FTAA and Workers' Rights and Jobs

The Ten Year Track Record of NAFTA: U.S. Workers' Jobs, Wages and Economic Security
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Database
Search DoL Certified Job Losses

Already under 10 years of NAFTA, family after family and community after community has suffered from the destruction of millions of good jobs. Manufacturing workers who have lost their jobs to NAFTA typically have only been able to find new work in the service sector at wages 23-77 percent less than their previous positions paid. Overall, 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since April 1998, many due to NAFTA or WTO-related factory closures. Under just one U.S. Department of Labor program to help NAFTA victims, 525,094 U.S. workers have been certified to receive government assistance.

Under NAFTA, the very real threat to move a plant to Mexico has often been used to bust unions and also to depress wages. Ten years of NAFTA has shown that, when corporations are given these new rights and privileges they often use them to pick up and move to another country with weaker labor rights--especially when U.S. workers demand safer working conditions, fair wages, or the right to form a union. A study by Prof. Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell University found that in union organizing or contract campaigns in the U.S. after NAFTAs passage, over half of the firms threatened to close their plants if the union was successful. When forced to bargain with a union, 15 percent of the firms that had made threats actually closed all or part of a plant--triple the follow through rate of threatened closures before NAFTA.

Meanwhile, there is a growing body of real life data to support the prediction of trade theory that trade liberalization causes greater income inequality--with a larger share going to capital and a smaller share to workers. Using estimates made by pro-NAFTA economists of the impact of trade on income inequality and adding to it the indirect impact of trade on workers wages via de-unionization and other factors, economists from the Center for Economic Policy Research estimate that trade liberalization has cost the 75 percent of U.S. workers without college degrees an amount equal to 12.2 percent of their current wages. For a worker earning $25,000 a year, this loss would be slightly more than $3,000 per year!


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