Leo W. Gerard, President of the United Steelworkers, today presented a series of questions on trade policy at a national hearing of the Democratic National Platform Committee, challenging the panel drafting the document for the upcoming nominating convention to find answers for inclusion.
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"These questions revolve around our nation's international trade policy -- one significant area of debate within our party. While the public has increasingly shown its concerns with the direction of our nation's trade policies, our elected leaders do not stand united on what course to pursue," Gerard declared.
"We must confront the need to reject the status quo approach to trade and adopt a new framework that is pro-worker, pro-trade, pro-growth, pro-equity," he added.
Citing that the Democratic Party's platform is more than a document that outlines the aspirations of our nominee, Gerard called it a roadmap that guides the entire party - including leaders in the Governor's mansions, in the Congress and in the state houses.
Among the questions he said that require answers were the following:
-- "How can we continue to run trade deficits of hundreds of billions of dollars a year, accumulating more than $6 trillion in current account deficits since 1994 - borrowing about $2 billion each and every day and not expect that there will be a price to pay?"
-- "How can we lose more than 3.5 million manufacturing jobs and see more than 40,000 facilities shuttered and ask our citizens to support trade policies that have shipped their jobs overseas?"
-- "How can we refuse to pursue aggressively enough the fight for labor rights in America or overseas and expect that workers in other nations will have the rights necessary to be adequately compensated for their labor and help build a bridge to the middle class?"
-- "How can we watch as other nations -- like China -- subsidize their producers, dump their products on our markets and refuse to accept our goods in their markets and simply continue to spout ideology while refusing to enforce our own laws?"
-- "How can we let policymakers tell our children that they should work hard and go to college to get one of the 'jobs of the future' when those jobs, increasingly, are being done offshore as our nation's advanced technology trade deficit with China alone amounts to more than $67 billion?"
Gerard told the platform committee that U.S. Sen. Obama as the presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee, has voiced his concerns. "He has said that his first principle in approaching trade issues is that 'our trade agreements must provide clear and measurable benefits for American workers....'"
The Democratic National Committee and 'Obama for America,' have advocated the platform committee as a bold initiative to involve the American people. Platform meetings in all 50 states have occurred: Jul. 15-27. The Cleveland hearing was the final event of a national hearing. The full platform Committee will meet in Pittsburgh on Aug. 9.