Obama Telegraphs Pro-NAFTA Position

Washington, D.C., February 28, 2008 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is urging all union members to take a second look at Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) position on the North American Free Trade Ageement (NAFTA), following news reports he assured Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. that his opposition to NAFTA was “just campaign rhetoric.”

According to a report on CTV Television Network, a senior member of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) campaign staff contacted Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. earlier this month and warned him that the senator would be taking strong positions against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but that it was only “campaign rhetoric” and should not be taken seriously.

“I am appalled but not surprised by this report,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “Working families cannot trust a candidate who telegraphs his real position to a foreign government and then dissembles in a nationally televised debate.”

The full CTV report is now posted on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAJYMgX4JuU and provides additional details, including a statement that an Obama campaign spokesperson confirmed that contact with the U.S. ambassador had been made during the past month.

NAFTA is an incendiary issue in Ohio, where tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs have been destroyed since NAFTA was signed into law. Voters in Ohio and Texas have been deluged with Obama campaign ads suggesting he would revisit the trade pact to negotiate new environment and labor standards.

The IAM is among the nation’s largest trade unions, representing nearly 720,000 active and retired members in manufacturing, aerospace, shipbuilding, transportation and defense-related industries. For more information, visit www.goiam.org.