Printer Friendly

News From USW: United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO Press Conference Highlights Demands to Enforce Trade Law in China; The Unions are Calling for Special Action on China as Provided for Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

PITTSBURGH -- News From USW: A press conference was held today at the United Steelworkers (USW) headquarters by the USW and the AFL-CIO asking the Bush Administration and Rick Santorum to take immediate action to halt the Chinese government's and multi-national corporations' exploitation of workers in China, who are paid as little as 15 to 50 cents per hour. Saying the gross violations of workers' rights in China have contributed to the loss of more than a million jobs in the United States, the labor union federation filed a petition with the United States Trade Representative calling for special action on China as provided for under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.

That petition states that wages in China are up to 60 percent below that government's own minimum wage standards and up to 85 percent below what workers would make if China honored the fundamental workers' rights set forth in international trade law. Workers work 10, 12 or even 18-hour days, often seven days a week, and are typically not paid overtime wages as required by law. The petition concludes that the brutal suppression of workers' rights by the Chinese government and corporations in China is lowering global standards and has contributed to the loss of 1,235,000 jobs in the United States, including 930,000 in manufacturing.

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) "never made a trade deal he didn't like, even if it took jobs away from Americans," Leo W. Gerard, USW international president said. "Santorum voted to change the tax code to make it easier for companies to move their manufacturing off-shore. They get a tax break for doing that. Our tax payer dollars, with Rick's vote, are paying manufactures to move our jobs off shore."

Two years ago the AFL-CIO filed a similar trade petition, which was rejected by the Bush Administration despite overwhelming evidence that action was required under provisions of U.S. trade law. The Bush Administration's refusal to comply with the Trade Act has allowed workers' rights violations in China to worsen and has contributed to the loss of hundreds of thousands of additional American jobs.

The petition filed June 8 was co-signed by U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ).

Jason Altmire, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress from Pennsylvania, attended the press event not to speak, but to learn about the trade petition and the view of the unions.

"Rick Santorum voted for fast track legislation, which means it took Congress out of the ball game," Bill George, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president said. "This means the president has all the power. It says the hell with the workers in China, the hell with humanitarianism and the hell with all the important things we are trying to accomplish in America."

The petition demands that the president implement a program of economic incentives for the Chinese government to improve its record on workers' rights and impose temporary, WTO-consistent trade measures against the Chinese government, so long as the government fails to comply with internationally recognized workers' rights. At the same time, the petition says, the president must implement a system for verifying that the Chinese government and global corporations are improving their compliance with workers' rights.

It is tremendously important the USW, AFL-CIO and Industrial Union Council of the AFL-CIO file this petition to stop what China has been doing: suppressing workers and destroying industrial jobs in America.

Mark Barenberg, Professor of International Law at Columbia University, worked with the AFL-CIO to draft the petition.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 9, 2006
Previous Article:LAN Airlines Monthly Statistics Report for May 2006.
Next Article:DWS Global Commodities Stock Fund, Inc. Announces Statement Regarding Use of Structured Notes.

Related Articles
Library service to unions: a historical overview.
Workers of the world: the AFL-CIO struggles to define a global agenda for labor.
AFS supports Fair Currency Alliance.
AFL-CIO files China labor case with U.S. Trade Representative.
Industry pushes for currency fixes; IPC, USPCA go to DC.
Trade groups take up currency fight.
Labor pains: the labor movement's latest crisis leaves workers of color wondering if the new coalition will deliver.
China: manufacturer for the world? With vast amounts of slave labor to employ and the help of Western corporate leaders to build manufacturing...

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters