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Free trade? Not if unions can help it ...
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seems odd, in fact, it seems almost un-American, to see words like this:
“If the Bush administration brings forward a free-trade agreement with Colombia, I hope Congress will agree with me and say ‘Hell No,’."
Well it might seem odd until you understand who did say them - Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. Hoffa followed those words with these:
“It’s time to say yes to cracking down on China’s currency manipulation, yes to food and product safety standards for imports, yes to keeping jobs in America instead of shipping them out of the country.”
I can certainly understand and even agree with product safety regulation. But what has that to do with free trade?

Well, when you're a union, free trade is your enemy, because your priority isn't the consumer. The priority is your members and keeping their jobs here and their wages as high as you possibly can. If the consumers suffer because of that, well, you know - tough.

So given Hoffa's priority this sort of rhetoric shouldn't be surprising:
“Working men and women understand the damage done to them by these job-killing free-trade agreements,” Hoffa said. “These deals are less about reducing trade barriers than they are about exploiting cheap labor and protecting investments of multinational corporations.”
It is a populist and scaremongering appeal and it is right up the old union alley. However, if heated words from a union boss were all you had to worry about in this regard, you'd go "yeah, yeah" and get on with your life.

But in case you haven't noticed there's an election on. And, as most have figured out by now, we live in a special interest democracy. While Hoffa decries "multinational corporations" a competing special interest, he's really making an appeal for his special interest to be shown favorable treatment.

Naturally we know to which party this constituency appeals. What Hoffa wants is protectionist legislation which will make it too expensive for other countries and companies to import their cheaper goods into here, thus keeping consumer prices high and the jobs his members hold, safe.

Just as naturally, it is the consumer who gets screwed by such thinking and legislation. Instead of fixing the structural inefficiencies within certain industries which make them too pricey to compete on a level playing field fo free trade, Hoffa would prefer keep those who can bring their goods to market more cheaply out of the country while having government protect the inefficiencies which pay so well here.

And I'm sure he'll find just the right politicians to make him the promises he hopes to hear in the very near future.
 
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"These deals are less about reducing trade barriers than they are about exploiting cheap labor and protecting investments of multinational corporations."

Obviously these unions are also strongly supportive of enforcing our immigration laws to prevent corporations from exploiting cheap undocumented labor and driving down wages.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Wasn’t it Al Gore, that Democrat that every Democrat loves, who went on CNN with Ross Perot to tells us that NAFTA was the best thing since sliced bread.

They’re probably busy burning that tape at CNN as you read this.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Naturally we know to which party this constituency appeals.
Strangely the same party that thinks the US is the cause of poverty throught the world and we must do SOMETHING to fix it. Just so long as it isn’t putting people to work.

It amazes me that what should be opposing camps have found a home in the Democratic Party.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://

And I’m sure he’ll find just the right politicians to make him the promises he hopes to hear in the very near future.
The ghosts of Smoot and Hawley?

The more things change...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Well, when you’re a union, free trade is your enemy, because your priority isn’t the consumer. The priority is your members and keeping their jobs here and their wages as high as you possibly can. If the consumers suffer because of that, well, you know - tough.
By this you assume that Union members are not also consumers. I mean, surely they do SOMETHING with the money they are making at their union job.

I wonder what would happen to the economy if many Union workers do lose their jobs. The cost of some goods may go down (along with the quality, boo china) their will be more unskilled workers without jobs, or working much lower wages. They will not have the same buying power they had, which will hurt the economy. They may not be able to afford health care, or save for retirement, creating more of a burden on the system.

I’m just wondering what would happen economically, maybe the aforementioned is not a problem for the economy as a whole, I don’t know. But I guess I’d want to think of a big picture before assuming Free Trade Good Unions Bad!
 
Written By: Shinobi
URL: http://liesandstatistics.blogspot.com

 
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