DNC - Linda Chavez-Thompson and Mark Levinson discuss how John McCain, Charlie Black and Colombia Free Trade Agreement are a Bad Deal for America

WASHINGTON, DC- On a conference call today, DNC Vice Chair Linda Chavez-Thompson, the first woman appointed as an executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, and Mark Levinson, Chief Economist for UNITE HERE, discussed John McCain's trip to Colombia and Mexico, his insistence on continuing George Bush's failed economic policies and his reliance on shady lobbyist advisers like Charlie Black.

As they made clear, McCain's trip shows he won't stand up for America's workers, but he will stand up for lobbyists like Charlie Black and the special interest friends funding his campaign.

The audio of the conference call is available at the link below:


The following are highlights from the conference call:

Linda Chavez-Thompson

"I was in Bogota, Colombia for 3 days in Feburary. I had a chance to talk to and visits with hundreds, and I'm talking hundreds of trade unionists from different perspectives in Colombia who were begging us, 'please don't let this trade agreement go through,' because they are getting killed. They're assassinated, their families are threatened. They have stories to tell...and they are still getting killed. Two were killed last week...

"We have seen that now, from every indication, Senator McCain is going to follow George Bush's failed economic policies. We can't afford that. we can't afford that. And even worse, that we now have Charlie Black, who is a confidant of Sen. McCain's who is guiding him, and who has earned almost $2 million dollars representing an oil company that literally is violating every kind of problem that workers face in that country and in this country. It's nothing more than Washington politics that have left American working families struggling...Charlie Black has made almost $2 million from Colombia's leading oil exporter on energy and trade and a free trade agreement that McCain now says he will push. We need a President, we need someone who's going to stand up for workers in this country..."

Mark Levinson

"Colombia leads the world, there are more trade unionists killed in Colombia than the rest of the world combined. Now presumably that earns them the privilege of a trade agreement with the United States, but we find it an outrage, American workers find it an outrage...the fact that McCain's...not only his top political advisor Charlie Black, but his major fundraisers, his other top staff have either lobbied for companies that support this agreement or lobbied directly for the Colombian government. And again, at a time when American workers are suffering, we think the contrast couldn't be stronger between Sen. Obama, who while John McCain is in Colombia, Sen. Obama is in Ohio, ground zero of the effect of these bad trade deals on the U.S. economy. So we think this just highlights the stark difference between these candidates. One is going to work on behalf of American workers, and one apparently is going to work on behalf of foreign governments or international companies that do not have the same interest as American workers."