A union group united protesters packed a public sidewalk in downtown Bismarck this afternoon, trying to get a message out against a trade deal. Averi Haugesag reports:
Walking out the doors of the Federal building in Bismarck this afternoon was a little different than usual.
“This is an anti- TPP rally, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it’s a free-trade deal that’s kind of slowly moving through Congress right now and we’re standing against it because we think it’s going to be the death of American jobs.”
Hedegaard isn’t alone in this belief.
Around 100 people showed up to the rally in hopes of convincing North Dakota’s Congressional delegation to vote no on the TPP.
The TPP is a trade deal proposed by President Obama to ship goods overseas.
It has been negotiated between the U.S. and eleven other countries, including New Zealand, Mexico and Vietnam.
Protesters say this raises concerns for some people, especially laborers like Cody Serr.
“Job loss is going to be the main thing. It’s going to be a lot easier to ship jobs overseas for the simple fact that wages, they’re going to ship them down to counties where minimum wage is non-existent, safety is not a concern and we have to try and contend with that.”
“It basically puts us all on an even playing field with countries that have no labor rights, no environmental protections. We have some of our partner counties, turn a blind eye to slavery, more or less.” (Jim Unkenholz, Bismarck, N.D.)
“Corporations look like they’ll probably have more ability to go out and really exploit the workers over there, take advantage of them pay wise, health wise, and we see too much of that already.”
All three of North Dakota’s Representatives say they haven’t made up their minds yet, leaving protesters time to get their point across.
If we want to negotiate a free-trade deal, we all have to be part of the negotiation.”
“The protest that was behind me lasted about an hour. The protesters we talked to said they were happy with the turnout. With Ben Smith, I’m Averi Haugesag, KX News.
If approved, the Trans Pacific Partnership will be the largest free trade agreement in history.