Little is loose again. Loose in the White House, the congress and corporate
Chicken Littles are crying that if all new NAFTA-style trade deals are required
to include protections for labor in all the countries involved – well, goodness
gracious, the sky will fall!
has them so panicky is a proposal by congressional Democrats to rein-in the
labor abuses that have come with these corporate-written trade deals. Are the
Democrats suggesting radical protections that would put an impossible burden on
global business? Judge for yourself:
One provision would ban the use of child labor.
Another bans slave labor.
A third says that workers would have the right to form unions.
these good things? Not to the global corporate powers and their political
protectors in Washington. They warn darkly that such protections would
boomerang, for other nations would sue in international trade courts to overturn
our state laws allowing such practices as lower-wage summer jobs for
me, but an all-out foreign assault on American teenagers working a few weeks at
the shore or in the hay fields doesn't seem terribly likely. Nonetheless, the
battlecry of the powerful National Association of Manufacturers is: Defend the
Teenagers! Indeed, NAM's top lobbyist, John Engler, is the Chicken Littlest of
them all, wailing that subjecting state laws "to a foreign nation's challenge
would be unacceptable."
maybe John is ignorant of the fact that NAFTA, CAFTA, and other existing trade
deals already subject our state laws to foreign challenges on behalf of global
corporations – and that the NAM backed those provisions. Or... maybe John's just
using American teenagers as a political screen to keep his corporate members
from having to treat their global workers with some minimal fairness.
that last one.