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Washtenaw Union Members Urge Rep. Walberg to Oppose Unfair Trade Agreement

Driskell speaks out against TPP, tells Walberg to protect Michigan jobs

ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County union members gathered at IBEW Local 252 in Ann Arbor yesterday evening to make phone calls to Rep. Tim Walberg’s offices, urging the Congressman to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Working people are opposing the TPP trade agreement because it fails to address currency manipulation, has weak rules of origin on cars and auto parts, and will weaken Buy American policies. State Rep. Gretchen Driskell spoke to volunteers at the phone bank, and called on Walberg to protect Michigan jobs.

“The TPP is bad news for working people, and it will really hurt Michigan’s auto industry,” said Ian Robinson, President of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, and a research scientist at the University of Michigan. “The last thing our state needs is another bad trade deal like NAFTA, and that’s exactly what TPP represents. We need Congress to adopt trade policies that help us export more Michigan-made products, instead of Michigan jobs. Tim Walberg needs to do the right thing by opposing TPP.”

Last night union members from the IBEW, AFT Michigan, UAW, and other local unions made approximately 1,000 phone calls to Congressman Walberg’s offices in Jackson and Washington, D.C.

“American workers and manufacturers have been devastated by trade deals in the past and the sweeping terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be no different,” said Driskell. “Unfortunately, some politicians, like Congressman Tim Walberg, are putting special interests ahead of Michigan’s working families and supporting a deal that would make it easier to ship US jobs overseas.”

In 2014, Michigan’s trade deficit was $66.8 billion – one of the highest trade deficits in the entire country. Since NAFTA was signed into law, Michigan has lost more than 254,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs.

By failing to address currency manipulation, America’s huge trade deficit with TPP countries like Japan will only get bigger – making it easier for foreign automakers to sell their cars here, and harder for Michigan’s car companies to sell vehicles overseas. Furthermore, the TPP includes weak rules of origin on autos and auto parts, which will reward outsourcing and hurt auto exports and jobs.

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The Huron Valley Central Labor Council represents 31 local unions, belonging to 18 national and international unions, representing over 10,000 union members in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties

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