U.S., Canadian autoworker unions issue joint NAFTA priorities

July 12, 2017

Unifor and United Autoworkers, representing Canadian and U.S. autoworkers, have laid out four priorities the unions say must be addressed in the renegotiation of NAFTA: strengthening labor standards and boosting wages; balanced trade; “real ‘made in North America’ rules”; and benefits for workers being fairly shared in all three NAFTA countries.

[Jack Caporal| July 11, 2017 |Inside US Trade]

The unions also list a slew of other concerns, including the need to eliminate investor-state dispute settlement, stronger environmental standards, rules to address currency manipulation, “better procurement policies” and “tax fairness.”

The unions also note the absence of Mexican autoworkers backing the July 11 statement: “We would have welcomed the participation of representatives from Mexican free trade unions in the auto sector but there are none that can speak for Mexican workers -- and that is at the core of the problem.”

Unifor and UAW argue that manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada are keen to move operations to countries with lower wage and general costs, such as Mexico. The unions claim that “Mexico’s general failures to enforce labour and other laws have left workers without real recourse regarding violations of freedom of association, working conditions, or other problems.”

“Despite this realization, NAFTA does not provide any adequate way to address these abuses, in turn encouraging them,” they contend.

Read more at Inside US Trade

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