Alesha Daughtry delivers
warning of NAFTA expansion.
Among the questions put to each lawmaker visited by UE
delegates was this one: "Can you give us the name and address of at
least ONE new manufacturing facility that has opened in your state or
Congressional district directly as a result of the 1993 passage of NAFTA?"
How Senators and Representatives responded said a lot
about their views on free trade.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) personally expressed
the belief that NAFTA has allowed Vermont business to expand as a result
of NAFTA. Rep. Tom Latham (R., Iowa) claimed that NAFTA’s gains
to his state’s agricultural sector extended to new job creation in
But not a single lawmaker could point to a single
manufacturing facility that opened because of NAFTA.
When Sen. Tom Harkin (D., Iowa) saw the question,
he laughed. "No, not a one," he told UE members.
"I can name 20 that have closed," said Mary
Ann Richmond, aide to Sen. Russ Feingold (D., Wis.). Other
aides and lawmakers from hard-hit industrial areas had similar
THE COST OF NAFTA
893 members react to Rep. Tom Latham’s underwhelming response to
their concerns. From left, Beth Austin, Sheila Van Osdel and Barb
No doubt NAFTA created jobs — "most Americans
have two or three of them," Alesha Daughtry told the
Political Action Conference. The problem is that NAFTA cost the U.S.
economy good jobs, while lowering living standards in Mexico and adding
to an environmental nightmare along the border, she said.
An organizer with Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch,
Daughtry sounded a warning about the proposed Free Trade Area of the
"NAFTA will be renegotiated, but not on our
terms," advised Daughtry. Secret negotiations have been underway to
expand NAFTA from Alaska to the southern tip of South America — and to
greatly expand the power of corporations to control our lives. Affecting
650 million people and some $9 trillion in capital, FTAA would be the
world’s largest free-market zone.
The FTAA will give business new incentive to move jobs,
open up government services to privatization, and allow corporations to
sue government to eliminate labor, environmental and consumer
OF JOBS AND EDUCATION
"Not only will corporations control our jobs, but
they will control how kids get educated," Daughtry said. Water
services could be targeted for privatization, leaving corporations in
control of access to ground water.
With the FTAA not scheduled to take effect until 2005,
there is time to mobilize opposition, she said. A Hemispheric Day of
Action will take place in Quebec April 21 as government leaders from
throughout the Americas put the finishing touches on the FTAA.
Negotiations have taken place behind closed doors,
without informing Congress of the details. "I bet your
Representatives and Senators haven’t seen it," Daughtry said.
That won’t stop the Bush Administration from pushing for
"fast-track" negotiating authority to ram the deal through
right to left, Craig Miros, Local 714, and Sandy Coulter, Local
767, explain the reality of working for a living to an aide to
Rep. Paul Gillmor.
In visits on Capitol Hill, UE conference delegates
repeatedly raised their concerns about the FTAA and opposition to fast
track with lawmakers. Meeting with an aide to Rep. Paul Gillmor
(R., Ohio), Sandy Coulter, Local 767, asked point-blank if the
Congressman had seen the text of the draft FTAA. The aide didn’t know.
"We’d like him to see it, and tell us what he’s going to do
about it," Coulter insisted. "NAFTA’s done nothing for us,
and hurt our planet," said Craig Miros, Local 714 — to
make sure the aide got the point.
Delegates Cheer Congressional Allies
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