Fair Trade Activist Spotlight: Pat Carleton

Pat Carleton helped convince Maine's two Republican Senators to vote against CAFTA and now he's working on a pathbreaking strategy against the World Trade Organization (WTO). Use the form below to send a thank you to Pat!


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Pat Carleton grew up in Wilton, a small working class town in Western Maine. 

In Pat's youth, Wilton was a vibrant community with a strong manufacturing base. The town was home to G. H. Bass & Co., a manufacturer of quality shoes and footwear, and a number of other businesses. Pat’s dad worked at the shoe company as did he and his brothers during summers and after school.

Pat has watched the first hand impacts of corporate trade agreements in his community as these companies have all closed up shop and moved overseas.  This story of deindustrialization and job loss is all too familiar throughout Maine. This was one of the factors that caused Pat to become an active union leader and a fair trade activist.

Now, years later, Pat is Executive Vice President of the United Steelworkers Local 4-9 at the SAPPI paper mill in Skowhegan, Maine. Additionally, he’s the coordinator of his union’s rapid response team and the contract action team.  Pat also serves on the board of directors of the Maine Fair Trade Campaign (MFTC), a state coalition of labor, environmental, faith based and progressive organizations working for fair trade policies. 

Pat worked tirelessly to oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), mobilizing his co-workers to call and write the Congressional delegation, speaking out at public hearings and directly lobbying Maine’s Senators. As a result of the hard work of Pat and others, Maine’s entire Congressional delegation voted against CAFTA - including both of Maine’s Republican Senators, a huge coup. 

After the CAFTA fight, Pat has not given up.  He and the MFTC are working to highlight the negative impacts that current trade deals have on democracy and public services. 

Pat has been part of a larger MFTC campaign to work with the Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission and Maine Governor John Baldacci to take the state out of certain sectors of the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS).  This effort is critical, because Wal-Mart and other retailers have lobbied the United States and WTO for the application of global rules that handcuff local officials with regards to land use policies. For example, the WTO that could be used to challenge local communities' land use laws that place size limits or other restrictions on "big box" stores. Other multinational corporations are eying the GATS as a key tool to pressure governments worldwide to privatize and deregulate essential services like health care, education, electricity and water distribution.

Pat never stops working hard to promote fair trade and a stronger labor and social justice movement.  Please take a moment to send Pat an email to thank him for his hard work!  Pat will let you know how you can help stop the GATS by working with the Governor in YOUR state.

February 16, 2019

Thank you, Pat!

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