The North American Free Trade Agreement is typically called a "trade deal," but in reality it’s not much about trade. Its hundreds of pages of set rules for how the United States, Mexico and Canada can run their economies. Those rules give global corporations strong rights and privileges but don’t contain a single provision to ensure more jobs, better wages, clean air and water, affordable medicines, or any of the other benefits trade is supposed to bring.
By any measure important to working people, NAFTA was a failure. It didn’t raise wages. It didn’t help protect the environment or ensure that people who wanted to join together and negotiate on the job could do so. NAFTA’s rules are rigged—and they must change.
Trade is not inevitably bad for working people. A new NAFTA, with rules that working people help write, could create good jobs, raise wages, protect our natural resources and raise standards of living across North America.
These rules must ensure working people can join together to negotiate for better wages and working conditions. They must ensure citizens are free to make decisions about our economy, including being free from the threat of unlimited investor-state dispute settlement lawsuits by foreign corporations. They must promote investment in our roads, ports, and schools and promote "Buy American" provisions to create jobs locally.
The AFL-CIO has developed comprehensive recommendations that aim to stop NAFTA’s vicious cycle and replace it with a virtuous one. A better NAFTA is possible. And it starts by bringing working families into the conversation so we can be part of the solution.
Read more about the AFL-CIO’s NAFTA recommendations, and share this post with a friend. To join our trade activist team, text “trade” to 235246.