Workers’ Rights Remain Critical as NAFTA Negotiations Continue

A joint statement from six labor leaders, including International President Bob Martinez,  on the latest North American Free Trade Agreement announcement:

“NAFTA is a rigged game that has been decimating communities and pushing working people down the income ladder for a quarter century, and today’s announcement is another step in the continuing process of renegotiating NAFTA. Renegotiation is a mammoth undertaking. Meaningful renegotiation will upset the powerful global corporations that have made huge profits off the backs of North America’s working people. Getting it right is not easy, which is why we appreciate U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s close consultations and willingness to consider new ideas. However, more work needs to be done.

“North America’s economies are so integrated that it is hard to see how this new deal could work if our brothers and sisters in Canada are not included. We think it is a mistake to move ahead on a bilateral basis and will continue to push to be sure that Canada is included in any final agreement.

“We look forward to reviewing a complete text of the agreement and any side deals once the negotiations have been completed. We welcome the improvements made so far to the labor chapter, including, most importantly, new rules to eradicate wage-suppressing protection contracts in Mexico. But these changes will be meaningful only if we can be certain that the international labor standards in the agreement are strong and that specific changes to current labor law in Mexico are adopted and enforced. We continue to work with the Trump administration and both parties in Congress to ensure the deal contains swift and certain enforcement tools.

“We will be relentless in advocating for trade terms that ensure working people in the United States, Mexico and Canada have the freedom to join together in unions and negotiate for better wages and working conditions. This deal is more than just a labor chapter. Effective measures to stop the outsourcing of manufacturing to Mexico in many sectors, like auto, aerospace, service jobs and others, are of paramount importance. We will reserve final judgment on the value of this deal for working families until we can review the full and final text. We will work with the administration and Congress as the process unfolds.”

Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO

Robert Martinez Jr., International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)

Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers (USW)

James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Gary Jones, President, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America International Union (UAW)

 

Christopher Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America (CWA)