Economy
8:15 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

United Steelworkers Against Obama’s Free Trade Proposals

The United Steelworkers (USW) opposes three new free trade agreements (FTAs) proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday.

USW Legislative Counsel Linda Andros said her union is lobbying against the trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama.

"We think that these FTAs are not any different than past free trade agreements in that they don't generate jobs, not in the manufacturing sector, which is where we have about 850,000 members working," said Andros. "They've actually been a good way to outsource jobs."

Andros said her group opposes each agreement for different reasons.

Korea's agreement requires only 35% domestic products to be used in the construction of automobiles, said Andros. She said in most FTAs, that number is closer to 50%. Andros added that Korea exports far more cars than it imports, creating an unfavorable trade imbalance for American car-makers.

The USW opposes the Colombia FTA for reasons more humanitarian than economic, said Andros. She said Colombia carries out human rights abuses against unionizers and other organizers, earning the disapproval of the USW.

Andros said the USW opposes the Panama deal because the country is a "tax haven" for companies seeking to avoid US levies.

The three free trade agreements are expected to come to a vote in both the House and the Senate in the coming weeks.