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Ambassador Kirk Co-Chairs Labor Advisory Committee Meeting with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

On Monday, May 14, Ambassador Kirk joined Secretary Hilda Solis at the Department of Labor for a meeting of the Labor Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy. Members in attendance included R. Thomas Buffenbarger, Chair of the Labor Advisory Committee and International President of Machinists; Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO; Clayola Brown, National President of the A. Philip Randolph Institute; Raymond Hair, President of the American Federation of Musicians; Gregory Junemann, International President of Professional and Technical Engineers; and Veda Shook, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Ambassador Kirk engages members of the Labor Advisory Committee
Ambassador Kirk engages members of the Labor Advisory Committee

Secretary Solis began the meeting by commenting on the U.S. Department of Labor’s continued commitment to worker protection and enforcement of U.S. labor laws. Ambassador Kirk focused on three key topics during the discussion; updating the committee members on the 12th Round of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the trade agreement with Colombia, and the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI). Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Solis also noted the Obama Administration’s ongoing work with the government of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to address labor concerns in Colombia.

Ambassador Kirk speaks with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Ambassador Kirk speaks with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Referring to the NEI, Ambassador Kirk emphasized the creation of 1.2 million jobs and the goal to level the playing field so that U.S. businesses can compete internationally. The Ambassador also updated the members on the recent Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in China.

From Left to Right: Assistant USTR for Labor Lewis Karesh, Ambassador Kirk, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
From Left to Right: Assistant USTR for Labor Lewis Karesh, Ambassador Kirk, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

The Labor Advisory Committee is co-chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor. The committee advises and provides recommendations on issues and general policy matters concerning labor and trade negotiations, including operation of trade agreements.