Speech | Trade

Trumka Weighs in on Latest Round of NAFTA Negotiations

Washington, D.C.

Good morning. I’m Rich Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO. Thank you for joining us today.

We just finished an hour-long discussion of NAFTA's damage to working people. A few key points of consensus emerged:

  • NAFTA created a race to the bottom, rewarding outsourcing and labor exploitation.
  • A NAFTA that doesn’t raise wages in Mexico won’t raise wages anywhere.
  • Workers can’t benefit from NAFTA if they don’t have the freedom to join together to negotiate better wages and benefits. North American rules that infringe upon that freedom will only promote more exploitation.

I want to be clear: the enemy of American workers is not Mexican workers. It’s not Canadian workers. And it’s not even corporations.

The enemy of American workers is a broken system of trade that rewards corporate greed at our expense.

NAFTA is the single greatest example of this broken system. It’s an economic disaster. And it must be fixed.

Those of us here today—we’ve been at this awhile. Some of us have been sounding the alarm on NAFTA since the early-90s.

Over the years, politicians from both political parties have promised to fix this unfair agreement. To date, none have delivered.

We need a NAFTA that produces higher wages and better jobs and ends the era of outsourcing.

The coalition you see here today; this is solidarity in action. It's not every country for itself.  It's workers standing together to raise the floor so we can all get ahead. 

That starts in Mexico.

Wages are low in Mexico because workers have no freedoms there.

NAFTA was specifically designed to allow companies to profit on the backs of Mexican workers, driving down wages and standards for all of us.

The government of Canada has put forth a more ambitious labor proposal better targeted to protect workers.

The U.S. proposal doesn’t measure up.

This is the test for this administration. They’re either going to step up for working people and produce labor rules that work.

Or they stand with greedy global corporations who profit from exploitation.  

Workers across North America demand a NAFTA that works for all of us.

Thank you.


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