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LI union leaders call on Trump to make trade deals to benefit workers

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

This article by James T. Madore originally appeared in Newsday. 

Local union leaders, environmentalists and liberals called yesterday for President-elect Donald Trump to pursue free trade agreements with foreign countries that benefit both U.S. workers and corporations.

Meeting with Rep. Lee Zeldin in Patchogue, the trade activists urged him and the Republican-controlled Congress to support the inclusion of strong workers’ rights and environmental protection standards in future trade deals.

The activists, who numbered about 35 people, also praised Zeldin (R-Shirley) and other lawmakers who opposed the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, or TPP, between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

The TPP has languished in Congress since 2015 because unions say it would lead to U.S. job cuts and more pollution. The deal is probably now dead because it is opposed by Trump.

John R. Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, an umbrella group representing unions, said future trade deals should be about “increasing jobs, rising wages and broadly shared prosperity, not higher corporate profits and increased offshoring of America’s jobs.”

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