The Eugene, Oregon, city council voted Jan. 11 to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.
The resolution against the trade deal was presented by City Councilor Claire Syrett. It passed unanimously.
Syrett cited the impact of previous trade agreements on Oregon’s manufacturing economy, workers’ rights, and the environment as she presented the resolution.
“Those of us who were paying attention to these things during President Clinton’s Administration saw the terrible impacts of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) on our manufacturing industry as just one example, and negative impacts on communities in other counties that were party to that treaty.”
Syrett also explained why it’s important for local governments to pass resolutions like Eugene’s.
“While adding our voice in opposition may not prevent this from going forward, it will put this city on record as opposing a treaty that has real potential to harm our local and state economy.”
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain responded to the vote by calling for more cities to pass similar legislation:
“Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, over 50,000 Oregon workers have been certified by the Department of Labor as having lost their jobs due to trade,” he said. “It’s time for localities, like the City of Eugene did, to say no to policies that ship their citizens’ jobs overseas, threaten the rights of workers, and lower the standard of living for all of us. I hope that more local governments see Eugene’s example and follow it.”
The resolution is a result of local labor and community-based organizations working together as Oregon Strong Voice Lane County, which held a series of actions in the area to call attention to the TPP, including a rally with Congressman Peter DeFazio last spring.