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Senator Warren Lands First Punch in Round Three of TPP Fight

May 18, 2015 (EIRNS)—Far from conceding defeat in the wake of Obama’s arm-twisting "win" in last week’s Senate vote on the TPP, Elizabeth Warren has struck a new blow at the administration, with the issuance of a report entitled, "Broken Promises: Decades of Failure To Enforce Labor Standards in Free Trade Agreements."

Prepared by her staff, the 16-page document begins by quoting President’s comments before trade agreements were passed: Clinton before NAFTA, G.W. Bush before CAFTA (Central America), and Obama before the South Korea free trade deal, and now before the TPP, each was lauded to contain good and ever better "protections for workers and the environment" than the previous deal had.

Then, she documents how each failed to deliver, or be enforced. "The history of these agreements betrays a harsh truth," says the opening summary,

"that the actual enforcement of labor provisions of past U.S. FTAs lags far behind the promises. This analysis by the staff of Sen. Warren reveals that despite decades of nearly identical promises, the United States repeatedly fails to enforce or adopts unenforceable labor standards in free trade agreements."

A 2014 report from Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found, "persistent challenges to labor rights, such as limited enforcement capacity, the use of subcontracting to avoid direct employment, and, in Colombia and Guatemala, violence against union leaders." Prior to 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor "had not accepted a single complaint," dealing with "key labor provisions" in international treaties, and has since "resolved" a measly "one of five" complaints, and those at a snail’s pace. Similarly for issues dealing with "child labor, trafficked persons, and human rights."

Since the signing of NAFTA in 1993, the U.S. has signed 14 trade agreements involving 20 other nations. There have been reported problems involving 11 of those 20 countries, not to mention the damage to the domestic workforce through this outsourcing.