Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006

Publication Citation

13 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 77 (2006)


This article examines the trajectory of workers' rights provisions in 'fast track" authority legislation allowing the U.S. president to negotiate free trade agreements that Congress can only approve or reject, not amend. I begin my analysis with the Trade Act of1974 and continue through the expiration of fast track authority in 1994. Against this backdrop, I critique the workers' rights negotiating objectives and priorities in the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2002 (TPA). Relying on TPA's confused legislative history and basic rules of statutory interpretation, the article seeks to interpret TPA's workers' rights provisions. It concludes by examining the practical implications of TPA's workers' rights negotiating objectives and priorities, as currently applied, by assessing the workers' rights provisions in the trade accords concluded under TPA. Ultimately, I find that, despite pronouncements to the contrary, TPA is a step backward from the Trade Act of 1974, which instructed U.S. trade negotiators to ensure that "the global trading system, as governed by GATT included an enforceable requirement hat countries adhere to international fair labor standards."

Globalization and the New Politics of Labor, Symposium. Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington, February 11-12, 2005.