It is urgent for voters to contact their congresspersons this week on the upcoming vote on CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement, Jobs with Justice urged workers’ rights supporters in an e-mail message July 1.

On June 30, the Senate approved the Bush-endorsed measure implementing CAFTA, setting the stage for a showdown in the House of Representatives.

CAFTA was signed May 28, 2004, by the United States and six Central American countries. Although the agreement has already been signed, it still needs a vote in Congress to be implemented.

Since the U.S. Congress passed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, a decade ago, over 700,000 jobs have been lost in the U.S. and real wages in Mexico have fallen. CAFTA would “extend NAFTA’s disastrous job loss and environmental damage to six more nations — Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua,” the JwJ message stated.

“Working families want fair trade that lifts living and workplace standards in the U.S. and in Central America, not another giveaway to giant corporations,” said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO.

Teamsters President James Hoffa said his union members would use “every possible means to reach out to their members of Congress, including phone, fax, e-mail advertisements and face-to-face visits.” He added, “All members of Congress are on notice: Teamsters will fight to protect U.S. jobs from being sold overseas to the lowest bidder. Nobody gets a pass when it comes to selling out my members’ jobs and accelerating the global race to the bottom.”

Voters can reach their congressional representatives by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121.

PAI contributed to this story.

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