Anti-FTAA Resolution from Local 21, IFPTE
- (stop-ftaa) Anti-FTAA Resolution from Local 21, IFPTE
Date: 3/1/01 12:49:18 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: ssolnit@... (Steve Solnit)
My union, IFPTE Local 2, passed the following resolution against the
FTAA last week. Local 21 represents nearly 6000 public sector workers in
the Bay Area.
* * *
International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21
San Francisco, California
Resolution on the Free Trade Area of the Americas
Adopted by Local 21's Executive Committee on Feb. 22, 2001
The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is an initiative to create a
free trade and investment zone covering the 34 nations in the North
America, South America and the Caribbean, excluding Cuba. It would
remove most remaining limits on the movement of money, goods and
services and liberalize investment rules. The FTAA initiative was
launched at the Summit of the Americas in 1994 and is slated to be in
place no later than 2005. The next round of negotiations of the FTAA is
on April 18-22, 2001 where representatives from the 34 countries in will
meet in Quebec City, Canada.
The FTAA is closely modeled on NAFTA. The negative effects of NAFTA's
free trade policies on workers are already well established. NAFTA has
failed to produce significant economic benefits while eliminating jobs
and reducing real wages. The U.S. Labor Dept. has certified over 300,000
people under one very restrictive program as having lost their jobs
because of the agreement, though this represents only the tip of the
iceberg. NAFTA has not generated new jobs to replace those it took away.
Most of the displaced workers lost high-paying industrial jobs and are
now working for low-wage service jobs. Likewise, in Mexico NAFTA has
pushed huge numbers of workers into the informal sector, working less
than the minimum wage without benefits. In its first three years, the
purchasing power of the minimum wage in Mexico dropped by 24%.
NAFTA attempted to quell opposition by adding last minute "side
agreements" on labor and the environment. These side agreements do not
accord labor and environmental concerns the same standing as trade and
investment, and in practice they have proven to be all but
unenforceable. But the FTAA will not even have side agreements on labor
and the environment.
These trade rules would dramatically increase the power of multinational
corporations to exploit low-wage labor, lax environmental laws,
privatization and opportunities for speculation while protecting them
from any form of accountability.
Like NAFTA the FTAA goes beyond legitimate trade issues. It seeks to
undermine national sovereignty, subordinating democratically enacted
environmental, public health and food safety laws in the 34 nations to a
set of trade rules devised in secret by an unelected body in collusion
with global corporations. The negotiating process is undemocratic and
excludes any representation of society, and just months before the
Quebec meeting, the draft agreement the trade representatives will be
ratifying is still secret.
THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED BY LOCAL 21 OF THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF
PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL ENGINEERS THAT
1. We call on the U.S. government's trade representatives to reject the
FTAA in Quebec and subsequent meetings because its goals and negotiating
framework are fundamentally flawed.
2. We call on Congress to reject the administration's request for fast
track authority to approve the FTAA without a full debate.
3. We support the efforts to organize protests against the April FTAA
meeting and encourage our members to participate.
4. Trade and investment should not be ends in themselves, but rather the
instruments for achieving just and sustainable development. In any
hemispheric agreement, citizens must have the right to participate in
the formulation, implementation and evaluation of social and economic
policies. The core goals of such an agreement should be to promote
economic sovereignty, social welfare and reduced inequality at all levels.
5. Any hemispheric agreement must include a requirement to respect
workers' fundamental rights as defined by the seven core Conventions of
? Conventions 29 and 105 on the abolition of forced labor.
? Conventions 87 and 98 on the rights to freedom of association, to
collective bargaining, and to trade union action including the right to
elect trade union representatives without employer or government
interference, and the right to strike.
? Conventions 100 and 111 on equal pay for work of equal value and on
the prevention of discrimination in the work place.
? Convention 138 on the minimum working age (i.e., prevention of child
Monitoring of the workers' rights provisions should be delegated to the
ILO. In addition, the agreement must provide an effective enforcement
6. We instruct our delegates to support a similar resolution at the San
Francisco Central Labor Council.
7. We instruct our delegates to introduce and support this resolution at
the next annual convention of the IFPTE, adapting it as appropriate.