Quick Hit Ellyn Fortino Tuesday July 19th, 2016, 2:33pm

Chicago Aldermen Call On Illinois Congressional Delegation To Oppose TPP

Chicago aldermen who oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will introduce a resolution at Wednesday's city council meeting urging the Illinois Congressional Delegation to reject the 12-nation trade agreement.

Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), David Moore (17th), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Anthony Napolitano (41st) joined labor allies at City Hall Tuesday afternoon to announce the resolution, which is being proposed ahead of next week's Democratic National Convention.

"We're calling on the delegates at the Democratic National Convention to take this off part of their platform agenda so that they can look out for the working class, for the people that they are supposed to represent," Sadlowski Garza stressed.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been trying to get language explicitly opposing the TPP included in the Democratic Party's policy platform, but the attempts have not worked thus far.

The TPP is being billed as an agreement that will "help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class."

But TPP critics call the agreement NAFTA on steroids. Aldermen and labor representatives said the TPP could hurt Illinois businesses and jobs.

"We understand what TPP does," said Jo Patton of AFSCME Council 31. "It takes us further down the road that has devastated parts of Chicago and cities across the country. We're concerned about the impact on workers, and especially workers who traditionally were making a middle-class wage."

The proposed city council resolution states that the "TPP will put Chicago's manufacturing base at risk and result in further incidents of disinvestment" similar to what happened at the Nabisco bakery on the Southwest Side.

Snack food manufacturing giant Mondelez International, which owns the Chicago Nabisco bakery, is moving much of the facility's production work to Mexico and cutting 600 jobs.

"TPP and similar trade pacts will only mean more of the same. It's a bad deal all around, except for the 1 percent," Sadlowski Garza said. "Deals like this will hurt more Chicago workers by accelerating the departure of companies and jobs going to other countries."

The aldermen's non-binding resolution makes the following demands:

1) The City of Chicago respectfully calls upon Illinois' Congressional delegation to oppose the TPP as currently negotiated, and any similar proposed trade deals, such as the TTIP and TiSA, if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed policies of the past; and

2) The City of Chicago calls upon our Congressional delegation to support new trade policy that truly promotes economic growth; avoids favoring foreign companies over domestic producers; promotes high standards of protection for workplaces products, and natural resources; supports the creation and retention of jobs; enhances innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raises living standards; reduces poverty in our country; and promotes transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections.

TPP proponents, meanwhile, could push for the trade deal's approval during the lame duck session of Congress after the November 8 election. Congress would be prevented from making amendments to the finalized TPP thanks to the "fast-track" trade authority granted to President Barack Obama by the legislative body last year. The president said he needed fast-track authority in order to close the TPP trade deal.

Chicago aldermen said federal lawmakers should reject the TPP.

Elected officials "need to take a stance against free trade agreements that hurt the American workers, but make sure that big corporations and multi-national corporations get rich, and get rich very quick," Ramirez-Rosa said.


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