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January 21, 2015
Last night, in his State of the Union address, President Obama signaled his support for trade promotion authority, commonly called “Fast Track,” for trade deals. While it may have sounded appealing and reasonable in his speech, Fast Track turns out to be quite problematic in practice. Once Fast Track authority is granted, Congress is allowed only limited debate on pending trade deals and is unable to offer improvements through amendments. That means it’s practically impossible for workers and consumers to have a voice on trade policies that may hurt them and their communities in the future – exactly as the corporate lobbyists negotiating these deals in private intended!
Fast Track wouldn’t allow adequate public scrutiny of significant trade deals and how they will affect American jobs, labor rights, the environment, food safety and other important issues prior to authorization. In other words, Fast Track would grant Congress license to expedite secretly negotiated trade policies written by the 1% for the 1%.
Corporate lobbyists are convinced they can trick this new Congress into welcoming Fast Track. Those of us who care about democracy and transparency need to ensure dangerous Fast Track legislation doesn’t move forward.
Will you take two minutes to call your representative to vote NO on Fast Track? Call now at 1-888-804-8311. Here’s a call script to help you out:
Hi, as a concerned [STATE] constituent, I’m calling to urge you to vote against Fast Track. Please don’t give up your responsibility to represent me when it comes to trade policy. Thank you.
Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, drafted by special interests in the backrooms of power, should be subject to vigorous democratic debate. “Fast Track” limits Congress’ ability to oppose specific provisions within trade agreements that would never pass on their own. We know from the record of failed trade deals like NAFTA that these provisions have a devastating impact on jobs, wages and communities. It’s time to learn a lesson from the millions of jobs lost because of trade deals passed under Fast Track authority.
Americans deserve a fair process that gives Congress the opportunity to influence trade deals and to send bad trade deals back to the negotiating table for improvement. If you agree, join with Jobs With Justice and groups across the country who are calling on Congress to say NO to Fast Track. Call your representative by dialing 1-888-804-8311 TODAY.
September 23, 2014
It’s been more than six months since Walmart, which was under pressure from associates and women’s organizations, agreed to change its pregnancy policy to provide basic accommodations for employees experiencing complications with their pregnancies. But a Walmart store in Chicago reveals the company has fallen far short of truly implementing its policy to support pregnant workers.
In April, store associate Thelma Moore was injured by falling TV boxes while shopping at the Chatham Walmart on her day off. Then two months pregnant, her doctors recommended she stay home for two weeks, then made a list of accommodations she needed in order to return to work, including not lifting boxes over 25 pounds and being able to take water breaks every two hours. Thelma filled out the necessary paperwork but was told no positions were available that could accommodate her. Walmart then fired her for missing too many days.
Unfortunately, Thelma’s case is not an isolated one. In February, her co-worker Bene’t Holmes suffered a miscarriage on Walmart property when she was four months pregnant after being denied her request to stop stocking chemicals and lifting heavy boxes.
Workers’ at Thelma’s store and the community in Chicago have been organizing to support women like Thelma and Bene’t – so far they have collected petition signatures, sent a delegation to the manager and held a prayer vigil.
Now, we need your help to turn up the heat. Call 1-800-WALMART (925-6278) today to demand the Chatham store in Chicago reinstate Thelma and comply with Walmart’s pregnancy accommodation policy.
Here’s why your call matters. If the Walmart customer service line receives 200 complaints about the Chatham store, it will trigger an investigation by the home office.
Here’s a helpful script for your call:
Hello, I’m calling to register a serious complaint about your Chatham store in Chicago (store #5781). I have learned that Thelma Moore, an associate at the store, was injured by falling boxes while shopping in her store on her day off. Her doctors recommended several accommodations to her job to protect the health of her pregnancy, but instead of accommodating her needs, the company fired her. Expecting mothers should not lose their jobs for making reasonable requests recommended by their doctor. I demand you reinstate Thelma Moore and follow the company’s new pregnancy policy.
As you make your call, members of Respect the Bump and Chicago Jobs With Justice will be demonstrating at Thelma’s store. Follow along with the protest with the hashtag #WalmartMoms. You can also let us know how your call went by commenting below!
While Thelma fights to get her job back, she and other members of Respect the Bump, an organization of pregnant women and new moms at Walmart, continue to hear from women who are being denied accommodations. It’s clear that Walmart needs to take action to ensure that their policy is fully implemented and enforced at every store, and go further to extend basic accommodations to all pregnant women who have a medical need for them, whether they have complications or a normal pregnancy.
As the largest private employer of women in the country, Walmart should set the standard for how women workers are treated throughout the industry and our economy. The stories of women like Thelma and Bene’t highlight the need for Congress to take action – including passing the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act – as well as the significance of the upcoming oral arguments in the pregnancy discrimination Supreme Court case Young v. United Parcel Service, which is scheduled to start December 3.
January 28, 2014
Given that we’re used to a slow moving Congress, it’s understandable that “Fast Track” legislation sounds promising. Unfortunately, Congress will soon consider “Fast Track,” which would limit debate and prevent amendments in Congress on trade deals. Such expedited authority would make it much easier to pass future trade agreements, including the proposed anti-worker Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
Jobs With Justice opposes “Fast Track” because it is a license to continue trade policies written by the 1% for the 1% without an ability to hold our country’s negotiators accountable for provisions that hurt working families.
Trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, drafted by special interests in the backrooms of power, should be subject to vigorous democratic debate. “Fast Track” limits Congress’ ability to oppose specific provisions within trade agreements that would never pass on their own. We know from the record of failed trade deals like NAFTA that these provisions have a devastating impact on workers and their communities.
Americans deserve a fair process that gives Congress the opportunity to influence trade deals and to send bad trade deals back to the negotiating table for improvement. If you agree, join with Jobs With Justice and groups across the country who are calling on Congress this week to say NO to fast track.
UPDATE – 2/6/14: Last week, hundreds of thousands of people across the country attended protests, rallies, and contacted their members of Congress to voice their opposition to any legislative attempts to fast track bad trade deals. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) publicly confirmed he had no interest in advancing “Fast Track” legislation in the Senate, despite the Obama administration’s urging.
Unfortunately, there’s still momentum to rush through dangerous free-trade agreements in the House of Representatives.
Call your representatives at 202-224-3121 right now and tell them to vote NO on S.1900/H.R. 3830, the Baucus-Hatch-Camp “Fast Track” legislation. (You can look up them up here!)
Learn more about why fast track is bad policy below or in this must-read editorial by former House Democratic Whip and Jobs With Justice board member David Bonior.