Today’s Must-Must-Read: David Wessel: Why Are Unions so Focused on Fighting Trade Deals?

David Wessel: Why Are Unions so Focused on Fighting Trade Deals?: “Less than 10% of all the workers that U.S. unions represent today are in manufacturing or agriculture…

…So with states passing right-to-work laws, Congress pressuring the National Labor Relations Board, the tax code rewarding big corporations that move overseas, funding for education, training and infrastructure under pressure, middle-income wages stagnating across the whole economy, why so much union energy devoted to fighting TPP?…

Rich Trumka… assigns a very large share–an improbably large share, in my view–of the blame for stagnant wages and inequality to recent trade agreements…. There is evidence… that globalization is part of the reason American workers aren’t doing better… by allowing more earning opportunities for those at the top and exposing ordinary workers to more competition, especially in manufacturing…. [And] Mr. Trumka isn’t alone in suggesting that much of what’s in TPP is aimed at shoring up intellectual-property and other protections for U.S. corporations. That’s good for the companies, but may not do much for their American workers…. Still, I find it hard to find an economic rationale for the intensity of the AFL-CIO’s fight against TPP….

March 25, 2015

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