Why NAFTA 2.0 Doesn’t Work for Working People

Despite some modest labor improvements, NAFTA 2.0 maintains the fundamental flaws carried over from past trade agreements, writes IAM Chief of Staff and Director of Trade and Globalization Owen Herrnstadt for the Economic Policy Institute.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been outsourced to Mexico since NAFTA was enacted in 1994. “One year ago, we were hopeful that renegotiating NAFTA represented the first real opportunity in 25 years to finally rewrite the labor template currently relied on for trade agreements,” writes Herrnstadt.

Numerous recommendations for improving and enforcing labor standards have been made during the renegotiations. “Unfortunately, none of these essential changes have yet to be made to NAFTA 2.0,” writes Herrnstadt.

These changes would explicitly obligate countries to honor ILO Conventions and Reports concerning the right to organize and bargain collectively and prohibitions against discrimination. The recommendations also include provisions for effective enforcement and monitoring of these and other labor rights.

“Without incorporating the recommendations mentioned above, NAFTA 2.0’s labor standards and enforcement remain weak and Mexico’s workers will still struggle to enjoy fundamental human rights,” writes Herrnstadt.

Read Herrnstadt’s piece for the Economic Policy Institute.