WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is again calling on the Obama administration to stand up for the rights of American workers in negotiations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. Michaud joined 152 other House Democrats in sending a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on the matter.
"American manufacturers are among the finest on the planet, and I know we can compete with anyone -- but we need to have a level playing field," said Michaud. "It's imperative that American trade representatives have the backs of American workers when they sit down at the table to negotiate trade deals -- and right now, it's clear to me that they don't. It's time for the Obama administration to listen to the bipartisan concern in Congress and take action that strengthens, not weakens, conditions for our workforce."
Michaud spoke at a trade rally last month and pointed out to the crowd that TPP pits American workers against foreign counterparts who make as little as 28 cents per hour. He said Members of Congress should reject fast-tracking TPP through Congress, especially until it's clear that key labor issues have been appropriately addressed.
Last month, after Froman admitted in a Senate hearing that he had not raised currency manipulation in TPP negotiations, Rep. Michaud sent a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately and directly raise the issue. Michaud previously wrote to Obama this spring in advance of the President's trip to Asia, calling on him to discuss currency manipulation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"I was on the floor of the mill in East Millinocket when NAFTA happened, and I can tell you how terrible it felt," added Michaud. "It's alarming to me that this administration doesn't take the bipartisan concern on this important issue more seriously, but I will not stop pushing for fair trade over free trade until the USTR shows us he understands the importance of a robust American manufacturing sector."