Hundreds of Machinist Union members from across the country stormed the halls of Congress on March 5, 2015, urging their legislators to vote against Fast Track legislation, which is key to passing a very dangerous trade bill called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Local members including IAM District 166 Business Representative Nick Mrdjenovich, IAM 2061 member Robert Livingston and IAM 610 member Roger Simmermaker visited their respective congressional members and more during their visit to Washington, DC.
These IAM representatives visited the offices of Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio, Rep. Alan Grayson (FL – 9th Congressional District), Rep. Bill Posey (FL – 8th Congressional District), Rep. Bill DeSantis (FL – 6th Congressional District), and Rep. John Mica (FL – 7th Congressional District).
The feedback received from these legislators was much better than expected, giving hope that fast track – and ultimately the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) legislation, can be defeated.
Commitments to vote against fast track were received from Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Bill Posey, and Rep. John Mica. Rep. Ron DeSantis is generally in favor of free trade and his office would not commit to voting against fast track, and added they would have to look at the TPP final language before deciding how to vote. Senator Bill Nelson’s office, also generally in favor of free trade, was undecided on fast track, and was given information as all other legislators were that could potentially cause reconsideration on the merits of both fast track and free trade.
Your Machinist Union representatives made sure that these legislators knew that all past free trade deals have either turned existing trade surpluses into deficits, or made existing trade deficits with other countries even worse. By the government’s own figures, for every $1 billion in trade deficits, the United States loses between 16,000 and 20,000 American jobs.
They were also reminded of the language of the U.S. Constitution, which says “All legislative power shall be vested in a Congress” and of the Constitutional responsibility of Congress to “regulate trade with foreign nations.”
Several other lawmakers who were reportedly “on the fence” regarding fast track were informed of the Machinists Union position against fast track and the TPP.