This Week on Between The Lines

Posted June 17, 2015 for week ending June 26, 2015

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"The fact that it's just stalled alone is a really big deal. It was painful to watch a Democratic president fight so hard on an issue on the opposite side of most of his constituents. But I'm hoping that it'll be a real wake-up call and that they'll think that they need to take a different approach to trade."

– Sarah Anderson, director of the Institute for Policy Studies' Global Economy Project, on the enormous grassroots organizing against President's Obama fight for fast-track authority on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal.


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Free Trade Opponents Claim Victory in Defeating Fast Track, But Critical Battles Still Lie Ahead

MP3 Interview with Sarah Anderson, director of the Institute for Policy Studies' Global Economy Project, conducted by Scott Harris

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The battle in Congress over President Obama's goal of gaining congressional passage of Trade Promotion Authority, also known as "fast track" – a necessary pre-requisite for later ratification of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement or TPP – hit a roadblock when members of the president's own party rebelled. In a critical vote on June 12, the House of Representatives rejected a measure to grant financial aid to displaced workers, one of three elements passed earlier by the Senate which was needed to advance fast track. In a vote of 302 to 126, the majority of Democrats joined a number of Republican lawmakers to defeat the free trade package. On June 16, members of the House voted to give itself six more weeks to schedule another vote to rescue the president's free trade agenda.  Story continues

Rally in New Haven Challenges Yale, Private Sector and City to Create Living Wage Jobs

MP3 A report on a New Haven, Connecticut jobs for the unemployed rally with Mothers for Justice's Kimberly Hart, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and resident Dominique Dickey, recorded and produced by Melinda Tuhus

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On June 11, a large and boisterous crowd of over 500 gathered in front of City Hall in New Haven, Connecticut, for a march demanding good paying jobs for city residents. According to U.S. Census data, there are 83,000 jobs in New Haven, 47,000 of which pay a "living wage" of at least $20 an hour. But only 9,000 of those 47,000 jobs are held by New Haven residents, and only 2,000 of them by residents in the city's low-income neighborhoods. The unemployment rate for blacks and Latinos in New Haven is more than 2.5 - 3 times higher than that of white residents. Yale University, the city's largest employer, has 13,000 employees, fewer than a third of whom live in New Haven. The day before the march a top Yale official said the university would hire 500 residents over the next two years, which is apparently more than its current rate, but many marchers were skeptical if that constitutes a significant change in Yale's practices.  Story continues

Seattle's Passage of $15 Minimum Wage Inspires Similar Campaigns Nationwide

MP3 Interview with Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member, conducted by Scott Harris

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Kashama Sawant's election to the Seattle City Council in 2013 made history, as she was the first Socialist candidate elected in Seattle in 100 years. As a council member, she fought for and delivered on her campaign promise to make Seattle the first major American city to pass a $15/hour minimum wage. The former software engineer, originally from Mumbai, India, ran for office advocating increasing the minimum wage, taxing the rich and re-imposing a rent control ordinance. In her surprising victory, Sawant defeated Richard Conlin, a four-term Democratic council member and past president of the city council.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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