There are a lot of ways that a new NAFTA could be made worse, but for the purposes of asking for your Congress members' support for a better deal, there are four items that we must all demand:
● No Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement provisions (ISDS),
● Protect important “Buy American” and “Buy Local” public procurement preferences,
● Include much stronger and enforceable labor, environmental, and public health standards in the agreement itself, and
● Be negotiated in a democratic, accountable and transparent process.
Now is the time to start getting allies together for a visit with your member of Congress during the August recess. Start with three easy steps:
1) Think about local allies whom you can reach out to. Some constituents groups will be on the right side of this issue already, and already active. Those groups will include labor unions and labor councils, and some national groups that were actively opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership, such as Electronic Frontier Foundation or the Sierra Club. Other, newer, post-election grassroots groups might need you to provide some background on the trade justice fights of the last few years but would likely be your allies. You might also make local contacts through the National Farmers Union or your local organic farming association. Local peace groups and immigrant rights organizations are also good prospects. Make contact and invite them to join in a constituent visit.
2) Let your Representative's district office know that you'd like an appointment. You will probably want to ask for a half-hour of time for your group to state your case, drop off relevant materials, and answer any questions that your Representative or his/her staff might have. If your Representative was a strong opponent of the TPP and can be trusted to advocate for workers and the environment in a new NAFTA agreement, you may only need time to say "thanks for your good work—please make this issue a priority this term!"
3) Show that you represent a broad constituency. Signatures on these postcards emphasize that trade is an issue for voters in your Representative's district. Print some out from this file for tabling and canvassing, and keep a few with you at all times to get signatures from friends. Don't be shy. Trade is a transpartisan issue and you will find Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters all supportive of good trade policy, though sometimes for different reasons, including jobs, the environment, and the threat ISDS poses to national sovereignty and local decision-making.
Outreach, setting a date, and showing support will put you in good shape for a Congressional visit during the recess. Start now to make an impact!