U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on January 24 announced his opposition to the Biden administration’s nomination of Nelson Cunningham for Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).
Brown objects to Cunningham because he lobbied for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which the Ohio senator says would have been “a terrible deal for Ohio workers.”
“TPP was written by corporations behind closed doors, lacked enforceable labor and currency standards, and would have undermined the American auto supply chain,” Brown says.
According to Brown, a division of Cunningham’s firm, McLarty Associates, lobbied for foreign interests, including the Chinese-owned Fuyao Glass beginning in 2019. He claims the 2019 documentary “American Factory” highlighted Fuyao’s union-busting activities in Dayton, Ohio. Fuyao settled with three Dayton workers in 2018 who alleged they were illegally terminated for supporting a union.
One of the workers featured in the film settled with Fuyao, according to Forbes magazine. Jill Lamantia says she settled a National Labor Relations Board claim against Fuyao and back pay totaling about $15,000. Fayao says the total settlement with the disgruntled employees came to $120,000. All alleged they were fired for supporting the union drive.
In 2023, Brown successfully pushed the Biden administration to remove the trade pillar from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework they were negotiating with a group of countries in the Pacific region, which lacked enforceable labor standards.
In 2015, he blocked the Obama Administration’s nominee for Deputy USTR, following the administration’s refusal to make the text of the trade agreement fully accessible, while multinational corporations were able to see the text of the largest trade agreement ever negotiated.