Your May 10 editorial on the welcome growth in employment was right to point out the ongoing concern about the length of time many workers have been without a job — often six months or more (“Job news good, but still leaves cause for concern”).

But you neglected to point out that unfair trade agreements continue to be a major cause of job loss, particularly here in Maine.

Recent layoffs due to unfair trade deals include the closure of the Brewer Lemforder plant. When production moved to Mexico, it caused a big hit to the city’s tax base and a loss of 400 Maine jobs.

Many of those workers were actually forced to train their own replacements, both here in Brewer and down at the new Lemforder plant in Mexico.

Maine has lost over 30,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA, and many more jobs have been lost in Maine communities because of the ripple effect of plant and mill closings. We need to re-write trade policies and develop a new model for trade to protect Maine jobs.

Rep. Mike Michaud’s TRADE Act would do just that. Companies often move jobs overseas to take advantage of workers and lax environmental standards. The TRADE Act will put enforceable labor and environmental standards in trade agreements.

Sen. Olympia Snowe should continue her important leadership role on trade by signing on as a senate co-sponsor of the TRADE Act. doing so, she can help keep and create good jobs for Maine workers.

 


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