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U.E. endorses April protests against the FTAA in Quebec

Text of the resolution adopted by the 65th Convention of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) on the "Free Trade Area of the Americas" (FTAA), and the protests scheduled for Summit of the Americas this April in Quebec City.
UE 65th Convention calls for action against the FTAA, endorses non-violent protests in Quebec this April.

Resolution as adopted by the Convention.

Since 1994, trade representatives from throughout the western hemisphere have been meeting to negotiate a "Free Trade Area of the Americas" (FTAA). Their goal is to remove all social and environmental impediments to trade in the Americas. Their plan promises to benefit multinational corporations, while destroying good jobs, weakening unions, devastating national economies, sending people into deeper poverty and destroying the environment.

The FTAA is an expansion of the 1994 NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). The FTAA intends to bind 34 countries in the western hemisphere to further remove restrictions on the free movement of capital, goods, and services. Like the attempted Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the FTAA will extend the implications of NAFTA, while eliminating its environmental and labor side agreements. The FTAA plans to broaden definitions of investment, eradicating the distinctions between short- and long-term investment, thus promoting socially irresponsible financial speculation.

Such "quick buck" speculation, encouraged by recently liberalized international trade policy, was largely responsible for the 1995 peso crash and the more recent economic crisis in Southeast Asia. If the FTAA continues in the direction of NAFTA and the MAI, the affected nations will also be prohibited from distinguishing between domestic and foreign investment. Thus, Latin American countries will be forced to allow foreign companies to take advantage of and extend low environmental and labor standards, while providing little benefit to their local economies. As for direct effects to North America, jobs will disappear as companies continue to move south. The
recent moves to liberalize trade have created worldwide social and economic disaster.

The trade ministers of the FTAA fear an interruption in the negotiations could halt the entire process. Tens of
thousands of working people and their allies in the student, farm, environmental and human rights movements succeeded in halting the "Millennium Round" of negotiations at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle last November. In April, one hundred thousand people, including a spirited UE delegation, participated in a week of action protesting the anti-worker policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, DC. We do have the power to stop the FTAA. The next summit of the FTAA negotiators will be held in April 2001 in Quebec City, Quebec, and trade unionists and others in Quebec and throughout the Americas are planning a counter-summit and protest.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 65TH UE CONVENTION:

Demands that Congress act to suspend U.S. participation in the FTAA negotiations until the negotiations are re-directed to the primary purpose of increasing labor
standards throughout the region and restricting corporations’ ability to exploit workers;

Encourages all UE locals to educate their members and communities on the potentially disastrous consequences of these negotiations; Endorses the non-violent action and protests against the FTAA planned for the April 2001 meeting in Quebec City, and encourages UE members to participate in them.
 
 

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