During an interview with the editor-in-chief of Tikkun Magazine, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) said it was an “injustice” that corporations are allowed to cross borders seeking low wage workers but workers are not allowed to cross the border seeking higher wages.
Ellison said, “An undocumented worker is an exploited worker. We just have to say the 12 million undocumented people in the United States are here because somebody wants them to be. They want them to do the work but they don’t want them to have any rights, they don’t want to pay them fairly, they don’t want them to be able to bargain collectively, they don’t want them to be able to get occupational safety and standards. And that is what is really going on. The trade agreements they allow capital to travel over borders and all capital is, is people who happen to own something we call a corporation which is a legal agreement that gives them special rights.”
He continued, “And labor, which is a regular person, cannot travel back and forth across the border. And so corporations, certain people who get certain rights, can go back and forth across the border seeking out the lowest wages, but people, regular people cannot go back and forth across the border seeking out the highest wages. So what it creates is an imbalance, it creates an injustice and it creates the need for something like a global Marshall Plan.”
He added, “Yes, we need to have fair trade rules. Yes we need to make sure we raise labor standards everywhere not reduce them, we need to raise environmental standards everywhere, not reduce them, but we also need to rebuild the part of the world that so many of us rely on to get everything from cheap flowers, to cheap strawberries, to cheap this, to cheap that, we need to understand our interconnectedness globally.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN