In REEDSPORT OREGON: Why Good Trade Deals Matter to a Business
Nick Martin is the co-founder of The Pro´s Closet, an online used-cycling business. He sent the following email to the White House list to highlight why a better trade deal means a brighter future for online businesses like his.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership isn´t just President Obama´s proposed trade deal -- it´s mine, too. It´s a trade deal that millions of other online small business owners in this country would be proud to add their name to. I want to tell you why:
Every time I step through the doors of one of our 4,000-square-foot warehouses in Boulder and Denver, Colorado -- every time I see the bikes and cycling parts that line those walls and take in the energetic buzz of our 30-member team -- I take a step back and reflect on a simple fact: I own a business. Its a "pinch-me" moment -- every time.
I am a cyclist and the proud co-owner of The Pro´s Closet, an online used-cycling store. And thanks to the Internet and the availability of e-commerce platforms like eBay, we´ve gone global. After all, when its not cycling season in the U.S., its peak season somewhere else in the world.
International customers aren´t just good for business abroad; theyre great for my Colorado communities. Why? Because selling in more markets means I can hire more people here at home. In fact, more small businesses are using the Internet to grow their business by reaching new customers they couldn´t reach before.
This is why trade is so important to me. If the success of American businesses in the global economy is important to you, say youre an ambassador for a better trade deal that delivers a brighter future for all of us.
It may seem like a really remote and technical issue, but it actually has a real impact on how small businesses like mine do business. Currently more than 40% of our transactions cross U.S. borders. Unfortunately, most of our trade rules were written in a "pre-Internet" era, which means they are a nightmare to navigate for small online businesses.
Heres an example: Right now, customs rules are so inconsistent and hard to follow that if we put a cycling part in the wrong packaging or mail it with the wrong label, it wont make it to our customer in one country. The rules are different for each country, and are sometimes set up in a way that completely blocks out American business.
That is why it is so important that we secure the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new kind of trade agreement that will ensure America writes the rules and levels the playing field for online businesses and American workers by:
Reducing and eliminating tariffs across the Asia-Pacific region
Streamlining customs procedures
Making the rules more transparent, consistent, and less costly
Helping keep the Internet open and free, enabling online businesses to operate without unnecessary infrastructure costs
Of course, as the President has said, not all of our past trade deals have lived up to their promise. Thankfully, this trade deal is on track to be different. In fact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is shaping up to be the most progressive trade deal the world has ever seen.
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Victms of discrimination in REEDSPORT OREGON
The EEOC enforces the prohibitions against employment discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title II of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA), and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion,
national origin, age, disability, and genetic information, as well as reprisal for protected activity. The Commission´s interpretations of these statutes apply to its adjudication and enforcement in federal sector as well as private sector and state
and local government employment.
The EEOC has held that discrimination against an inpidual because that person is transgender (also known as gender identity discrimination) is discrimination because of sex and therefore is covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. See Macy v. Department of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (April 20, 2012), http://www.eeoc.gov/decisions/0120120821%20Macy%20v%20DOJ%20ATF.txt. The Commission has also found that claims by lesbian, gay, and bisexual inpiduals alleging sex-stereotyping
state a sex discrimination claim under Title VII. See Veretto v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0120110873 (July 1, 2011), http://www.eeoc.gov/decisions/0120110873.txt; Castello v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Request No. 0520110649 (Dec. 20, 2011), http://www.eeoc.gov/decisions/0520110649.txt.
While discrimination based on an inpidual´s status as a parent (prohibited under Executive Order 13152) is not a covered basis under the laws enforced by the EEOC, there are circumstances where discrimination against caregivers may give rise to
sex discrimination under Title VII or disability discrimination under the ADA. See Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities, www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/caregiving.html.
Federal government employees may file claims of discrimination under the Part 1614 EEO process on any of the bases covered under the laws EEOC enforces, and/or may also utilize additional complaint procedures described below.
Civil Service Reform Act
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA), as amended, also protects federal government applicants and employees from discrimination in personnel actions (see "Prohibited Personnel Practices" http://www.opm.gov/ovrsight/proidx.asp) based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, political affiliation, or on
conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the applicant or employee -- which can include sexual orientation or transgender (gender identity) status. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC), www.osc.gov, and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), www.mspb.gov, enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA.
For more information, see OPM´s Addressing Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment at www.opm.gov/er/address2/guide01.htm, OPM´s Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Inpiduals in the Federal Workplace at www.opm.gov/persity/Transgender/Guidance.asp, and OSC´s Prohibited Personnel Practices and How to File a Complaint
Additionally, federal agencies retain procedures for making complaints of discrimination on any bases prohibited by Executive Orders reviewed below. For example, some lesbian, gay, and bisexual employees may file complaints under both the
agency´s Executive Order complaint process (for sexual orientation discrimination) and 1614 process (for sex discrimination), as these are separate processes.
Executive Order 11478, section 1 (as amended by Executive Orders
13087 and 13152) provides:
It is the policy of the government of the United States to provide equal opportunity in federal employment for all persons, to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age,
sexual orientation or status as a parent, and to promote the full realization of equal employment opportunity through a continuing affirmative program in each executive department and agency. This policy of equal opportunity applies to and must be
an integral part of every aspect of personnel policy and practice in the employment, development, advancement, and treatment of civilian employees of the federal government, to the extent permitted by law.
Executive Order 13152 states that "status as a parent" refers to the status of an inpidual who, with respect to an inpidual who is under the age of 18 or who is 18 or older but is incapable of self-care because of a physical or mental
disability, is: a biological parent, an adoptive parent, a foster parent, a stepparent, a custodian of a legal ward, in loco parentis over such inpidual, or actively seeking legal custody or adoption of such an inpidual. The Executive Order
authorized OPM to develop guidance on the provisions of the Order.
Thanks to the leadership of the President and the FCC, the resources are in place to meet the Presidents connectivity goal. In addition, various private-sector partners are making over $2 billion worth of resources available to students, teachers, and schools. These include tablets, mobile broadband, software, and online teacher professional development courses from top universities. Fewer than 40 percent of public schools currently have the high-speed Internet needed to support modern digital learning.
But now we have the resources to solve this problem. We just need help from our nations superintendents and school technology chiefs.
Last year, the FCC approved the first major update to the E-Rate program since it was created in 1997. E-Rate (also known as the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries) makes it more affordable for schools and libraries to connect to high-speed Internet with the goal of making the gigabit speeds we see in cities like Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Chattanooga, Tennessee the norm in schools across the country.
These updates have unlocked funding to support internal Wi-Fi network upgrades in schools and libraries this year for the first time since 2012. Wi-Fi is important because no matter how fast the Internet connection is to a school, students cant take full advantage of it without a robust wireless network within the school.
To secure E-rate support for Wi-Fi, schools and libraries must submit a form describing their project needs to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC then posts the request for competitive bidding. The Department of Education has prepared an Infrastructure Guide to help district leaders navigate the many decisions required to deliver cutting-edge connectivity to students. That said, schools and libraries have the final say when they submit an application to USAC for approval.
Bringing our schools up to speed is a major priority, and E-rate provides an opportunity to make doing so much more affordable. For all of the superintendents and technology officers: If you havent yet done so, get your requests submitted by February 26, 2015, and your applications in before March 26, 2015 (requests must be up for 28 days before a school can choose a vendor). Your students, your community, and your country will thank you for bringing our classrooms into the 21st century.