Organized Labor Won't Back Obama on Trade

Monday, 19 Sep 2011 03:03 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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President Barack Obama has annoyed some Republicans by tying free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to approval of renewed aid for workers who lose their jobs due to trade — Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).

Furthermore, he’s annoyed labor unions too. The AFL-CIO wants TAA approved on its own, without being linked to trade deals, and it opposes the three agreements, The Hill reports.

“It’s beyond ridiculous that Congress hasn’t passed” an extension of the program, Celeste Drake, an AFL-CIO trade policy specialist, told news services.

The trade agreement with South Korea will cost the United States 159,000 jobs, and the deal with Colombia 54,000 jobs, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

“So long as these agreements fall short of protecting the broad interests of American workers and their counterparts around the world in these uncertain economic times, we will oppose them,” Trumka said recently.






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