Labor

No deceptive "Free Trade" Agreements

I believe there is no such thing as "Free Trade" unless all the traders are free.  That means free to control their own government and it means free to form unions.  It means freedom from sweatshops with unsafe working conditions.  It also means freedom from being poisoned by industrial pollution. 

The so called "Free Trade" agreements that our government has been making are really thinly disguised end runs that let large multi-national corporations operate above the laws of any nation.  They allow the multi-nationals to avoid unions, worker safety and health laws.  In the long term, these agreements hurt our economy because they export jobs that never come back.

I will not vote to approve any such agreements and will do everything I can to modify or get rid of existing ones.

I do support the concept of free trade, but in order to really have free trade between 2 countries:

  1. Both countries must elect their government.
  2. Both countries must allow for effective unions to operate.
  3. Both countries must have equivalent public health laws.
  4. Both countries must provide similar medical care to their citizens.
  5. Both countries must have similar worker safely laws.
  6. Neither country can be artificially controlling their currency exchange rate.

It is clear that the proposed Columbia, Panama and Korean Fair trade agreements won't pass muster. 

I support The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041). 

I also think we need to do something about the practice of transferring employees who are trying to organize. 

Companies that provide health insurance for some employees should provide it for all -- even part-time employees.


Minimum Wage

I have supported myself with a minimum wage job.  I support an immediate minimum wage increase to $10 per hour.


Fair Trade
 

The term "fair trade" is being used to describe an alternative distribution system being established for third world products (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade).  This is a laudable movement and I would recommend that everyone support it, but this movement is about establishing a branded alternative distribution system.  It is not about government treaties.  Also, given that the fair trade organizations are trying to establish "fair trade" as a brand, or trademark, I think it would be inappropriate start using the term to describe trade treaties (even if the term fits).