Concerned citizens gathered in Bridgeport Tuesday night to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and what it could mean for U.S. jobs.
The TPP is a very secretive, proposed trade agreement between the U.S., Australia, Vietnam, and many other countries on the Pacific Ocean. Representatives from the Communications Workers of America (CWA) warned against the agreement, saying it could send thousands of U.S. jobs overseas and empower corporations.
"Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs, and not just manufacturing jobs. We're seeing service sector jobs like call centers and customer service jobs being exported, and we're really worried about what's going to happen to all those jobs if this trade agreement goes through," said Shane Larson, the legislative director for CWA.
The TPP is not just about jobs. There are also fears that the agreement will lower food safety because of new imports, limit generic medications to drive up the price, and tie the U.S. closer to countries that violate human rights. Average workers in Vietnam make only $0.25 an hour. One Congressman who has seen the agreement, called it "a punch in the face to every working American."
"It's terrifying, and sadly, I think the American people don't get excited until it hits home, and if we wait until it hits home, usually it's too late to do anything about it," said Karen Gorrell, a representative of a group of retirees from Century Aluminum, who have their own battles to fight with corporate America.
Congress is supposed to vote on the TPP by the end of December.