As noted in an earlier post, Randy Kuhl, our congressman, voted Friday in favor of passage of The Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA). Eric Massa, who is campaigning against Mr. Kuhl in this November’s election, has issued a press release regarding his concerns about OFTA.
Prior to the House vote, Mr. Massa called upon Mr. Kuhl to “do the right thing for upstate New York and vote against this agreement”. Mr. Massa cited, “It’s bad for American workers, bad for workers in other countries, and bad for our national security.”
Following is a joint statement from Eric Massa; Jim Bertolone, President of the Rochester-Genesee Valley Labor Federation and Rochester Labor Council; and Gary Ostrander, President of the Steuben-Livingston Area Labor Council.
Like others before it, this agreement will once again pit American workers against a nation with lax labor standards and threaten our national security by opening critical American assets to Omani ownership.
Agreements such as CAFTA and NAFTA.
“The deal with Oman is especially troubling, as the U.S. State Department reports that human trafficking and forced labor are actual business practices in the Middle Eastern nation and the agreement could open the door for Oman to control operations at U.S. ports.
“Why should American workers be expected to compete with countries that produce goods with forced labor? These free for all, burn-down-the-barn free trade agreements have not helped American workers; they have created loopholes that allow corporations to take their jobs and profits overseas, while all we get in return is the opportunity to buy a five dollar t-shirt.
Mr. Massa also feels that this agreement also has the potential to cause national security concerns. Purchase of US port operations by a middle eastern country, such as the issue we faced months ago with Dubai Ports World wanting to acquire same, is provided for in this agreement.
Click on the above link for the full text of Mr. Massa’s press release.
I saw absolutely nothing about this agreement on cable, national, or local news. The American citizens should have been made aware of this agreement. When news was made public of Dubai Ports World’s interest in wanting to purchase shipping operations within the continental US, the public outcry against this was loud and swift. To me, this agreement has presented the pathway for companies such as Dubai Ports World to be able to proceed as planned with the purchase. It won’t matter how we feel about the issue because The Oman Free Trade Agreement makes ownership legal.
In addition to the security concerns, this bill furthers the potential for exploitation of foreign workers and does nothing to help our workers. Here is another opportunity for corporations to offshore labor, close down part or all of their US operations, and layoff workers in the name of reducing their costs. I don’t know about you, but for once I’d like to see something positive happen for the working class people instead of the corporate world.