A growing number of local governments are coming out against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
The United Steelworkers union has convinced more than a dozen municipal government councils across Northwest Indiana to vote for resolutions opposing the 12-nation pact, which supporters say would let the United States lay the ground rules for trade in Asia and which detractors say would result in the loss of jobs.
So far, the Lake County Council, the Highland Town Council, the Hobart City Council, the Hammond City Council, the East Chicago City Council, the Lake Station City Council, the New Chicago Town Council, the Merrillville Town Council, the Portage City Council, the Munster Town Council, the Griffith Town Council, Lowell Town Council, and the Whiting City Council have all voted against the TPP.
The U.S. Congress would have to approve the TPP, which the Obama administration spent years negotiating, but which both Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican Nominee Donald Trump oppose.
Supporters like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say the deal would prevent China from dictating the terms of trade in Asia. Critics like the USW say it would export more factory jobs to countries with low wages, few environmental regulations and no worker protections.
The USW also has asked for statements of opposition from Chicago, Gary, Kouts, Crown Point, Chesterton, Dyer, Porter County, Valparaiso, Burns Harbor, Michigan City, LaPorte, Schererville, and Westville. Last week, union members rallied in downtown Gary before a city council meeting to lobby for the changes.
“We cannot accept ‘illegal trade’ or ‘bad trade agreements,’” the USW said in a news release. “We must demand ‘fair trade agreements’ from Congress and enforcement of our trade laws. It is important that we keep this lobby effort going forward in every town and city in America to keep Congress from passing TPP, that would be devastating to our economy and jobs in the future.”