August 4, 2010

NW10-023

To: NW SPEEA Council

From: NW SPEEA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee

Subject: Pre-Submitted New Business: Increase Funding for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition

 

 

Background

 

The Washington Fair Trade Coalition brings together unions, environmental groups, faith-based organizations and family farms groups from around the state to work on trade policy and the consequences of globalization on local communities. Labor members of the coalition include AFGE, AWPPW, CWA, IAM, IBEW, IFPTE, ILWU, OPEIU, Seattle Education Association, SPEEA, Building and Construction Trades, SEIU, Teamsters, UFCW, UAW local 4121, USW, Labor Councils in Spokane, King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, and the Washington State Labor Council.

 

In June of last year, the SPEEA Council endorsed the TRADE Act of 2009. The Washington Fair Trade Coalition has been very active lobbying our Congressional delegation to support the TRADE Act, with office visits in Washington DC, in local districts, and through phone calls, letters and email. Kristen Beifus and WaFTC Board members provide educational materials, and speak at meetings of our member organizations. The Fair Trade Coalition helped organize the 10th anniversary event for the WTO meeting in Seattle.

 

The Washington Fair Trade Coalition is part of a national network of coalitions, along with Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, Minnesota, Maine and several other states. About half of its budget comes from member organizations, and the rest from the Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) in Washington DC.

 

In the last few months, CTC cut back funding of the entire network of state coalitions, forcing each state's coalition to find alternative sources of support. The Washington Fair Trade Coalition is looking for alternative funding sources to deal with this problem. In addition, WaFTC is asking its member organizations to consider increasing their contributions.

 

Funding for WaFTC is part of the NW SPEEA budget, currently at $1500 per year.

 

This is a difficult time for all of our members, as the economic recovery drags on. Our trade policy contributed to the deindustrialization of our economy, and it is some comfort to us to know that the Washington Fair Trade Coalition is devoted to changing that trade policy, as a first step to restoring the industrial base we need for shared prosperity.

 

Motion

 

It is moved that: The NW SPEEA L&PA committee requests that the NW SPEEA Council authorize increasing support for the Washington Fair Trade Coalition from $1500 per year to $3000 per year, and include the new level in future budgets.

 

 

PRO

         Three hold-over free trade agreements are still before Congress - Korea, Colombia and Panama. We need a strong response from labor, and other groups in civil society

         Funding is tight for all non-profit organizations. WaFTC runs on a very meager budget and the extra $1500 will make a big difference, since the loss of CTC support came as a surprise.

         The WaFTC has established itself as a community resource, and we should help sustain it.

 

CON

         The budget should drive our spending.

         We have many demands on our resources.

         Boeing supports new trade agreements, and globalization has become part of Boeing's business model.