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Free Trade Hurts American Workers, AFL-CIO Director Says

As the U.S. trade deficit hits a record $800 billion a year and manufacturing jobs continue to flow overseas, AFL-CIO policy director Thea Lee discusses free trade's impact on U.S. jobs.

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  • PAUL SOLMAN, NewsHour Economics Correspondent:

    The president was visiting a Caterpillar plant in Illinois recently, trying to drum up support for accelerating free trade by having Congress grant him so-called fast-track authority to negotiate new tariff reductions.

  • GEORGE W. BUSH:

    It's a topic of hot debate. The temptation is to say, "Well, trade may not be worth it. Let's isolate ourselves. Let's protect ourselves."

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    The president is talking about a growing tide of opposition from the Democratic Congress and new members, like Betty Sutton of Ohio, whose district is hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs.

  • THEA LEE, AFL-CIO:

    This is not hypothetical any more, 200,000 jobs lost since NAFTA.

  • PAUL SOLMAN:

    Urging Sutton to crack free trade down was Thea Lee, policy director of the AFL-CIO.

  • THEA LEE:

    We represent American workers, and that's always going to be our top concern, is looking after their jobs, their wages, their benefits.

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