Take the time to watch this video…
I think Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris is being somewhat disingenuous as he seems to be using a wide and broad stroke to say if you’re anti-trade you’re voting against your job.
I write this response based on my current position as the President of United Steelworkers Local 12075, which represents the bargained-for members of Dow Chemical-Michigan Operations Midland. As a representative of organized labor, we have never been anti-trade. Organized labor has been against “free” trade. Organized labor advocates “fair” trade. We understand that globalization is a fact of life; however, it does not mean that we have to just lie down and accept any trade agenda at any cost.
I am not an expert in economics but I believe the ideal of “free” trade is meant to eliminate unfair barriers to global commerce and raise the economy in developed and developing nations alike. However; these so called “free” trade agreements create the environment in which we have to compete with the lowest common denominator and this has been defined as the “race to the bottom” for the American worker.
Without a doubt, economists, business leaders and politicians will all have some spin or theory on the issue based on what school of economic thought they subscribe to in order to create the argument for or against “free” trade. The same goes for arguing whether or not “free” trade has truly benefitted our Country, the United States. There may be plenty of economic theory to support and advocate “free” trade but it seems there is plenty of evidence that “free” trade is definitely not “fair” trade.
The inescapable results of that are now clearly seen by the dramatic loss of the manufacturing base that made America great, the loss of family supporting manufacturing jobs, the residual effect on manufacturing supporting jobs , the devastating effect on communities and the erosion of the middle class. It’s a domino effect that, I believe, we have yet to recover from.
It can all be very convoluted. But back to the video…
Has Mr. Liveris actually come and told you, the “factory” worker, that if you are anti-trade you are anti-jobs? If so, I believe that it is an unmerited statement without a full discussion of the true trade agenda that multi-national corporations, such as Dow Chemical, promote and champion.
I believe that this borders on the farcical and highlights the problem we have with these trade agendas. He seems to be creating a picture that it is all or nothing. This is far from the case.
Let’s narrow down the argument of “free” versus “fair” trade and discuss that. Let’s not paint the picture of an all or nothing trade agenda and especially don’t create a fear factor of job loss without discussing ALL of the issues involving trade and the terrible problems with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) and Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as current and prime examples.
Mr. Liveris details his thoughts on trade in his 2011 book titled “Make It in America.” It is clear he is a “free” trade advocate. However; the term “fair” trade is not mentioned. His high level approach to trade seems to make sense but the devil is in the details of these trade agreements. It is those details that are created to benefit the multinational corporations, the CEOs and the shareholder… not the worker and the families they support.
So please don’t use the proverbial paint brush of anti-trade = anti-job on the employees to whitewash the so called “free” trade agreements without detailing or answering to the true effect on the workers that may be subject to those deals.
These trade agreements aren’t free and they certainly aren’t fair.