ILWU, MUNZ protest secretive Trans-Pacific free trade agreement at US/Canadian border

On December 1, ILWU members joined fair trade activists on the US/ Canadian border in Blaine, WA to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a free trade agreement currently being negotiated by nine countries: The United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The TPP covers a wide range of issues and may be the largest “free trade agreement” ever negotiated. It is also the most secretive trade negotiations in history, with absolutely no public oversight, input, or consultations. Even US lawmakers have no idea what is in the proposed agreement. Joe Fleetwood, General Secretary of the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ), joined the protest via audio link up.

“Our good friends in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on the West Coast of North America were part of this event and invited us to show some working class globalization in action,” Fleetwood said. He added that MUNZ has been actively campaigning against “free trade” and for fair trade since MUNZ was formed in 2003.

The participation by MUNZ was encouraged by ILWU International Vice President Ray Familathe. Vice President Familathe brought a copy of the ILWU resolution opposing the TPP that was passed at the ILWU Convention to the MUNZ Convention held in early November; the MUNZ membership passed a similar resolution.

“Maritime and transport workers unions around the world are mobilizing against these secretive, undemocratic and anti-worker free trade deals like the TPP,” said Vice President Familathe. “These deals aren’t free and aren’t fair to workers. They undermine secure jobs and health and safety conditions. They are a part of a wider push to give even more power and control to corporate interests.”

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