To:††††††††††††††††††††††††† NW Council Members
From:†††††††††††††††††††† NW Legislative and Public Affairs Committee
SPEEA is a charter member of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.
Outsourcing is a top priority for SPEEA members. Bad trade policy rewards companies who outsource work, which weakens our industrial base and undermines the labor market for all SPEEA members. The Washington Fair Trade Coalition and SPEEA members are 100% in favor of trade. SPEEA members make products that the rest of the world wants to buy. We support good trade policy that delivers on the promise of mutual gain through trade. We oppose bad trade policy that ships our jobs to low-wage countries and undermines workers' bargaining power in the US and internationally.
The Washington Fair Trade Coalition includes over 50 organizations with a common interest of supporting trade policies that improve our standard of living and deliver on the promise of mutual gain through trade. Recent accomplishments for the Coalition are posted at http://washingtonfairtrade.org/wordpress/?page_id=599
SPEEA's original level of support for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition was $1000 per year in 2007. Over time, the NW Council approved increasing our support to $3000 per year.
Last year, the Washington Fair Trade Coalition lost funding from the Citizens Trade Campaign, a major donor. The Coalition's budget was cut in half. Member organizations provide most of the remaining funding, and union locals contribute most of that. The Coalition operates on a shoestring budget, with one part-time employee who shares an office with two other non-profit organizations. To sustain its operation, the Coalition is committed to budgeting for one full-time staff position.
In September, the Washington State Labor Council hosted a meeting to ask locals to recognize the value of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, which focuses the statewide community on good trade policies. IBEW local 46, IAM District 751and PTE local 17 have already made additional commitments. Teachers, SEIU locals, UFCW, and the Steel Workers will go through their internal processes to increase funding. ILWU and AWPPW face serious financial problems, but both support the Fair Trade Coalition. Other locals are also being asked to help. The Coalition holds an annual fundraising house party on November 30, the anniversary of the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle. These efforts, including increased support from SPEEA, would be enough to continue with a full time staffer.
Congress recently passed three NAFTA-style free trade agreements negotiated near the end of the Bush administration. The Washington State Congressional delegation voted overwhelmingly in favor of the agreements. The next major trade legislation will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is intended to be the signature trade policy of the Obama administration.
It is moved that: The NW SPEEA Council supports increasing support from $3,000 to $10,000 to the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.† It is further moved that future NW Council budgets provide $10,000 per year to the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.
Since the WTO meeting in 1999, SPEEA has advocated for better trade policies, as Free Trade Agreements and other legislation comes before Congress. The Washington Fair Trade Coalition organizes throughout the state, and connects member organizations with advocacy groups in Washington DC.
Opposition to free trade agreements is often seen as protectionist and opposed to trade. Since SPEEA members depend on exporting the products we design and build, we need to support trade.