PITTSBURGH (August 16, 2017) While the Trump administration begins negotiations behind closed doors on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), leaders throughout Pittsburgh are calling for negotiations that are conducted openly with public input.
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) joined a diverse group of labor, environmental, and civic leaders at a forum in Pittsburgh to discuss how trade policy can be transformed to lift up workers and communities, while protecting the environment. The forum was held at the United Steelworkers (USW) headquarters and featured a panel of labor and environmental leaders focused on making sure that a renegotiation deal would be a fair one for America’s workers and the environment.
“Renegotiation can not just be a rewrite of the of the TPP,” said Senator Casey. “I hope Republicans take renegotiation as seriously as we are. For me, this has always been about getting the best deal for American workers. This requires strong buy America standards as well as strong labor and wage standards for Mexico.”
“As renegotiations on NAFTA begin, we need to make sure that the interest of workers are front and center,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “The measure of success of any deal will be the number of good jobs that are created and maintained.”
“As we continue to encourage sustainable communities throughout Pittsburgh, we will need to make sure that trade agreements foster that type of development and innovation in cities and states nationwide,” said Josiah Gilliam, Special Assistant to the CEO, Web + Digital Communications Manager, Homewood Children’s Village and Program Manager, My Brother’s Keeper.
“Thousands of Pennsylvania workers watched helplessly as NAFTA led to the outsourcing of middle-class jobs,” said BlueGreen Alliance Policy Advisor LaVita Tuff. “Americans, Pennsylvanians, and working people everywhere need fair trade deals that put workers and the environment first and that don’t put corporate interests above our health, our rights, and our safety,”
“What Pennsylvania—and this nation—needs is a trade deal that promotes job creation while also protecting the environment,” said Pennsylvania Director of the Sierra Club, Joanne Kilgour. “We need to make sure that the NAFTA replacement supports healthy communities, clean air and water, and a more stable climate for the sake of workers and families.”
In May, the Trump administration sent notice to Congress that it intended to renegotiate NAFTA, and trade has been a particularly important issue for Pennsylvania.
“We know that it is possible to have trade agreements that don’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom, but instead lift up workers throughout the world,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “We applaud Senator Casey’s work on this issue that is so vital to the future of Pennsylvania’s economy and workers.”
The BlueGreen Alliance unites America’s largest labor unions and its most influential environmental organizations to solve today’s environmental challenges in ways that create and maintain quality jobs and build a stronger, fairer economy. Visit www.bluegreenalliance.org or follow us on Twitter @bgalliance.