Government affairs

Legislative Updates

NALC statement following the signing into law of a package of trade provisions

NALC President Fredric Rolando released the following statement following the Obama administration's signing into law a package of trade provisions:

Over the last several months, while debating trade promotion authority and its moving pieces, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle had to weigh the best interests of their districts.

On one side, there are those who benefit from trade deals because of the goods and commodities those districts have to offer.

On the other side are those who are disproportionately affected by trade deals due to substandard labor, environmental and human rights protections or by the implications individual deals can have on institutions such as the Postal Service. On this issue, the balance of power was clearly not in our favor. And while we are deeply disappointed by this result, our resolve remains steadfast to take any opportunity to strengthen protections for letter carriers and the Postal Service in the deals currently being negotiated.

In this particular battle, there were no winners and losers. Workers took a stand, telling Congress that it must retain its ability to fully debate and negotiate trade deals—not just give blind authority to this and future administrations on the deals before them. After a hard-fought battle, this and future administrations now have this authority, and Congress is left with straight up-or-down votes on the deals.

Despite our loss, we still have a lot left to fight for.

In the coming months, Congress will be given the opportunity to review individual trade deals and then vote them up or down. Many members of Congress have stated that they will not support a bad deal for American workers, who are the backbone of this country. Some have said they will reject deals that seek to dismantle the Postal Service. 

As Congress weighs these deals in the future, it should know that voting in support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be a vote for Wall Street, not for innovation at the Postal Service. A vote for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) would be a nod to the European Union, which has consistently called for deregulation of the Postal Service, while any acceptance of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) would promote privatization of this treasured institution.

Whether it’s postal reform efforts currently being discussed on Capitol Hill, individual trade deals coming before Congress, or any other battles expected in the coming months, letter carriers will continue to be relentless advocates for a strong and vibrant Postal Service, and we will take any opportunity extended by Congress and the administration to safeguard the Postal Service and its dedicated workers.

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