If We Lost Jobs with NAFTA, What Can We Expect With TPP?
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement passed, employment in the textile industry has declined by more than 80 percent over the past decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry went from having 900,000 jobs to fewer than 150,000. What kind of jobs did the textile industry provide for America? Good paying jobs with benefits, paid time off, and stability. Now, cut and sew apparel contractors and other apparel manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas where wages are slim to nothing.
We went from having 15,478 textile manufacturing establishments in 2001 who employed 426,027, to only 7,855 establishments employing 157,587 workers in 2010. In California, 60 percent of manufacturing jobs in the textile industry disappeared from 2002 to 2012. “The problem was the small, independent apparel manufacturers did not see big gains because they did not want to outsource their work, but it put them at a competitive disadvantage,” said Steve Smith, a spokesman with the California Labor Federation
This is just one industry that was affected by NAFTA among many. If these are the results with NAFTA, a three nation deal including the U.S., what can we expect with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12 nation deal?
Those against the TPP claim that it will take even more jobs overseas to low wage countries like Vietnam, give foreign corporations immunity from U.S. laws, allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws under the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter, and end national protections for workers and the environment.
Those in favor of TPP are in it for the money. The true people in favor of the TPP are hiding behind names that sound harmless. Names such as:
- The U.S. Business Coalition for TPP
- Trade Benefits America Coalition
- The Progressive Coalition for American Jobs
- The TPP Apparel Coalition
But if we take a closer look at the “members” of these coalitions, we don’t see anyone else except for the 1 percent of America. Huge multinational corporations such as:
- McGraw Hill
- MetLife, Inc.
- Motorola Solutions, Inc.
- Apple Inc
- The Clorox Company
- Siemens Corporation
- Exxon Mobil Corporation
- Gap Inc.
- General Mills, Inc.
- The Home Depot
- Honda North America, Inc
- Johnson & Johnson
- JPMorgan Chase & Co.
- Kraft Foods Group, Inc.
- Liberty Mutual Group
- Whirlpool Corporation
- The Walt Disney Company
- Verizon Communications
- Tyson Food Inc.
- Target Corporation
The truth of the matter is that this these multinationals are are pushing the TPP in order to save a buck. They will outsource their jobs in order to save on production and labor costs. The federal minimum wage in America is $7.25 per hour which is roughly $267.80 a week. Compare that to Malaysia’s minimum wage at $297 a month. The average wage for an an engineer in the U.S. is $87,140 but in Malaysia it’s $23,484. The average wage for an accountant in the U.S. is $73,670, in Malaysia it’s $16,263. The average factory worker salary in the U.S. is $36,000, in Malaysia it’s $19,308.
We can clearly see the huge difference is labor costs between the U.S. and one of the trading partners in the TPP. That isn’t mentioning Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Peru and Chile who also have low wages in comparison to the U.S. So how exactly is this going to be “good” for America and American jobs? It’s not.
We must stand up against these multinationals who are trying to change the laws and rules of our country. It is supposed to be “We the People” not “We the Businesses.”