Statement from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Katherine Tai to lead the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR):
The nomination of a worker-champion as U.S. trade representative is a resounding victory for our families and communities. Tai brings the needed expertise to develop a pro-worker trade agenda, including enforceable labor protections.
For decades, administrations of both political parties have enacted harmful trade policies that held down wages and didn’t provide for better working conditions by creating incentives to ship good-paying jobs overseas. Quite simply, the labor movement and other worker advocates have long been denied a seat at the negotiating table, meaning corporate interests have had exclusive authorship of America’s trade agenda.
Katherine Tai’s nomination signals a stark departure from the failed practices of the past. America’s labor movement was proud to partner with her to craft the North American Free Trade Agreement’s long-overdue replacement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, with enforceable labor rights at its core.
But make no mistake, we still have a long way to go to forge a new trade era that puts workers first. Now is the time to fully depart from trade rules and structures that for too long have killed jobs and lowered wages. President-elect Biden is living up to his word to forge a bold new direction, and with Tai as the U.S. trade representative, we will be strongly positioned to advance a fair trade agenda that makes the world safer and workers stronger.
Contact: Carolyn Bobb (202) 637-5018