The Duluth City Council weighed in against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement Monday night by passing a resolution that urges Congress to reject the proposed pact.
By an 8-1 vote, with At Large Councilor Linda Krug voting in the minority, the council voted to register its opposition to the trade agreement.
For his part, 2nd District Councilor Joel Sipress expressed fears that the agreement could weaken a local government's ability to regulate the activities of multinational corporations.
"Our iron mining industry is struggling right now because of 20 years of these kinds of agreements," he said, pointing to the impact of cheap foreign steel being dumped on the market.
However, Krug said she could not support the resolution.
"I feel I'm being dragged into the partisan political muck," she said.
Krug also said she did not have time to read through the whole proposed 6,000-page agreement and was not comfortable that she could make "an informed decision."
Previous trade agreements have not always bettered conditions for local workers, as 3rd District Councilor Sharla Gardner noted. She pointed out that while the local unemployment rate is 4.4 percent, Duluth's poverty rate sits at 22.1 percent.
"The proof is in the numbers," she said. "Yes, we have jobs, but many of the jobs are low-paying jobs."
Zach Sias, a Duluth resident, warned the council that the proposed agreement would only lead to an erosion of worker pay and protections.
"We need an agreement that isn't rigged against working people in Duluth," he said.