Amy Hanauer testifies at Kaptur NAFTA hearing
Posted August 03, 2017 in Press Releases
Smart trade policy can protect manufacturing, workers and the environment
Policy Matters Ohio executive director Amy Hanauer testified today on ways to encourage American manufacturing and improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at a hearing hosted by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur at the United Automobile Workers Local 1250 Hall in Brook Park.
Kaptur called the hearing in Greater Cleveland in response to corporate lobbyists that dominated the June NAFTA hearings in Washington, D.C. The field hearings gave communities most affected by trade deals opportunities to weigh in. The event was sponsored by Policy Matters, Americans for Democratic Action, the North Shore Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), the Sierra Club Ohio Chapter and others.
“The Economic Policy Institute found that NAFTA cost the U.S. 683,000 jobs from 1994 to 2010. Manufacturing, as a sector, lost the most, 60.8 percent,” Hanauer said. “Geographically, Midwest states like Ohio took the hardest hit.”
Nevertheless, manufacturing remains an essential part of Ohio’s economy, Hanauer said. One in eight Ohio employees works in manufacturing. Ohio had 687,000 manufacturing workers in 2015, behind only California and Texas. Ohio’s manufacturing wages average $1,119 a week — 24.9 percent higher than other sectors. Ohio manufacturers contributed $108 billion to the economy in 2015, 17.8 percent of the total for the state, Hanauer said.
Policy Matters identified the three major policy priorities to make trade work better for workers in Ohio, Hanauer testified.
1. Invest in infrastructure, especially clean energy like energy efficiency, solar and wind. Disadvantaged communities should receive priority.
2. Support American manufacturing through the Manufacturing Extension Program and by using American-made materials when spending public dollars.
3. Improve trade agreements by increasing worker protections, improving environmental standards and eliminating special courts that favor corporate investors.
“Good policy, including good trade policy, can help workers and the environment on all sides of the border,” Hanauer said.