Thursday, November 13, 2014

TPP Forum in Lombard, Illinois

We'll be presenting a TPP forum at the York Democratic Organization Township Meeting at the historic log cabin in the Four Seasons Park, 820 South Finley of Lombard, Illinois on Wednesday, December 3rd, at 7:30pm.  Another opportunity to spread the word about the TPP before Fast Track inevitably returns for congressional debate in 2015.

TPP Forum at Third Unitarian Church

We're participating in a TPP forum at the Third Unitarian Church, 301 North Mayfield Avenue, in Chicago on Sunday, December 14th at 10am.  Bring friends who haven't been introduced to the pitfalls of free trade.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

We paid Representative Mike Quigley a visit during the #StopFastTrack national week of action to let him know that voters overwhelmingly oppose the TPP and Fast Track legislation.

Tune in to the Rick Smith Show ( on Tuesday, November 11th, Veterans Day, at 3pm Central Standard Time to hear us talk about the #StopFastTrack National Week of Action.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Protecting Local Jobs in Trade Agreements

Ten of the twelve Illinois Congressional Democrats joined with 121 of their colleagues to call for strong Buy America preferences to be protected in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The letter states:
We have seen that Buy American requirements have had a strong impact in creating good middle class jobs here in the United States (U.S.).  For example, manufacturing employment gains from infrastructure investment can increase by one-third if strong domestic sourcing requirements are included.  Furthermore, as a recent White House report noted, U.S. manufacturing plays an outsized role in supporting and driving American innovation, including 60% of all U.S. research and development employees, 75% of U.S. private sector research and development, and the vast majority of all patents issued in the United States.  Meanwhile, support for Buy American policies unites Americans across party lines, with recent polls showing more than 90% support.
The Illinois Procurement of Domestic Products act currently mandates that preference be given to American made products ranging from pharmaceuticals, to corn, to coal. All of these preferences which ensure domestic economic development, could be undermined under the proposed TPP chapter on procurement (Which is still secret, but the rumor is all TPP countries would be treated as though they are American companies when bidding for public contracts.):
These proposed TPP terms could result in large sums of U.S. tax dollars being offshored and invested to strengthen many other countries’ manufacturing sectors, rather than our own.  Indeed, among the beneficiaries of the proposed TPP ban on Buy American preferences would be the many Chinese state-owned-enterprises in the one-party state of Vietnam.
Moreover, as you know, procurement policy established in trade agreements cannot be later modified without consent of all signatory countries.  This would deprive Congress and U.S. state legislatures of their authority to modify procurement policies, even in the context of fundamentally changed national or international circumstances.
Signing onto the letter, which was authored for House Democrats by Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland, were Reps. Rush, Kelly, Lipinski, Gutierrez, Davis, Duckworth, Schakowsky, Foster, Enyart, and Bustos. Conspicuously missing were Reps. Schneider and Quigley, who continue to be extreme outliers within their party on trade, as well as refusing to take a position favored by the majority of their constituents. You can view the whole letter here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Update: Mapping Displaced Workers in Illinois

In 2013, the state of Illinois ran a nearly $59 billion dollar trade deficit last year, including $19.5 billion just with China? That's a lot of jobs that are no longer being done locally! It's often hard to put a specific number on the jobs lost to unfair trade, however, we can get an absolute baseline picture for job loss by looking at Trade Adjustment Assistance data. Last year, were 35 certified TAA claims in the state, ranging from   These are jobs the Federal Government has certified have been displaced either by cheap imports, or moving production overseas. Click the icons on the map below to see details the Trade Adjustment Assistance claims in Illinois over the last 3 years. Unfortunately, because displaced workers have to actively file a petition for TAA or have one filed on their behalf, this represents only a small fraction of the jobs and workers that are being dislocated. We’ll be updating this map as new claims become available.

View 2014 Displaced Workers in Illinois Map in a full screen map

Saturday, February 1, 2014


On February 1st, as part of the Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP, Chicagoans representing labor, faith, environmental and community organizations will marched and rallied to Rep. Quigley's office to demand that he take a stand on the side of his community and oppose Fast Track. 

For the last 20 years, so-called “free trade agreements” like NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO have wreaked havoc on our communities and our quality of life. In Illinois alone, we have lost over 150,000 jobs due to unfair trade policies. Not only that, but these deals grant multinational corporations immense powers, like the ability to challenge any environmental or public health regulation they want in an extrajudical trade court for the loss of “future expected profits.” Additionally, NAFTA alone created over 2 million economic refugees, and free trade deals have led to myriad human rights abuses around the globe, all while superseding every federal, state and local law our elected legislators have passed!

Now the same corporations that gave us these deals are at it again. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been in negotiations for over 4 years. It has been negotiated in secret with over 600 corporate lobbyists serving as cleared advisers. This deal encompassing 12 countries on the Pacific Rim, would dictate the laws for nearly 40% of the entire world's economy. The only things we know about what will be in the TPP are from leaks, and so far it appears poised to continue the job drain, accelerate environmental deregulation, put limits on access to medicine and even control our internet freedom.

The corporate lobbyists know that the only way they can get the TPP through Congress is to ram it through under a procedure called Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority. Fast Track means Congress can't amend a trade agreement, or even have an open debate, and only a limited time frame to read hundreds of thousands of pages before voting. That's not democracy! Amazingly, despite their rhetoric about standing up for the rights of ordinary Americans, there are a few Democratic Members of Congress who haven't committed to opposing Fast Track, including Congressman Mike Quigley, putting him at serious odds with the vast majority of his party.

Fast Track would lead to thousands of parents losing good paying jobs,” says Robert Kurtycz, Comptroller of Workers United, CMRJB. “These are jobs with benefits that support families. This year is the 20th anniversary of NAFTA and the 50th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson's call for a War on Poverty. Which anniversary will our families celebrate?”

"Congressman Quigley claims to be a champion for the environment, but if he votes in favor of Fast Track he will be voting in favor of undermining every environmental protection that Illinois citizens have won for our communities”says Emily Carroll, Midwest Director for Food and Water Watch. “A vote for Trade Promotion Authority is not only anti-environment, but anti-democracy."