MA AFL-CIO Supports MA Trade Bill

BOSTON, October 4. This morning the Massachusetts AFL-CIO annual Convention passed a resolution giving its "full support for the passage of the Globalization Impact Bill by the Massachusetts state legislature and governor."

The unopposed voice vote came in the last minutes of the convention, following appearances by congressmembers, other major politicians and speakers, and a union leader from Colombia. Mass AFL-CIO's president Bobby Haines presided and facilitated the action. Copies of the resolution, over the signature of John Templeton, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 509, were distributed several hours earlier. A number of other union leaders including Ed Collins, Ed Dougherty, Joe Dart and Jeff Crosby offered their support.

Drawing from the Boston City Council's resolution (passed June 2002) endorsing the Globalization Impact Bill, and from a critical statement on globalization (issued 2001) by the national AFL-CIO's executive council, the current resolution was drafted by Dave Lewit and Karen O'Donnell of the Boston-Cambridge Alliance for Democracy (BCA). O'Donnell is a member of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 103 and a former Massachusetts state representative. The City Council's principal drafters were councillors Chuck Turner and Charles Yancey.

The Globalization Impact Bill, H.2119, was drafted by Lewit and modified by Rep. Byron Rushing before he introduced it in the legislature in January 2001. By September 2001, with the help of Eric Weltman of Citizens for Participation in Political Action (CPPAX), the bill had about two dozen legislative co-sponsors. After 9/11, promotion of the bill was virtually suspended, but the bill will be re-introduced with a new number in January, with full promotion efforts. The AFL-CIO and Boston City Council endorsements will get the attention of many legislators.

The Bill calls for the formation of a commission to examine all "free trade" agreements such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) for their impact on state laws and regulations, and report to the legislature concerning what not to support. The commission would consist of 2 state senators, 3 representatives, the attorney general, the treasurer, and two appointees of the governor.


In the Massachusetts Legislature

October 4, 2002

Whereas: Global free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization prioritize the goal of "free trade" over all other values such as clean air, living wages, and consumer protection; and

Whereas: Global free trade agreements tend to place workers in a "race to the bottom" and to deprive workers of the right to organize and to bargain collectively for wages and benefits, and to discourage union solidarity; and

Whereas: Representative Byron Rushing has filed and will again file a Globalization Impact Bill which would establish a state commission to study the impact of the World Trade Organization and other trade agreements on Massachusetts laws and regulations; and

Whereas: This state commission will regularly report to the legislature on these impacts and advise the Commonwealth on when to oppose provisions in global trade agreements; Therefore be it

Resolved: That the Forty-fifth Annual Convention of the AFL-CIO gives its full support for the passage of the Globalization Impact Bill by the Massachusetts state legislature and governor.