We are writing as affiliates of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council, representing over 4.5 million members, with 1.3 million members directly in manufacturing. We oppose consideration of NAFTA 2.0 until our long-standing concerns have been satisfactorily addressed and our core recommendations are incorporated into the final text of the agreement.
Acceding to demands from corporate interests to rush a vote will result in an agreement that once again fails U.S. workers, and will waste this rare opportunity to fix the fundamental flaws of our nation’s trade policy. The workers and communities that have suffered the disastrous consequences of NAFTA will not accept half measures.
NAFTA 2.0, as currently written, does not meet the needs of working people for a new trade model that ends the race to the bottom. The agreement must reflect the detailed improvements labor submitted to USTR on labor rights, and their swift and certain enforcement through a regime that is structurally sound. The Mexican government must dedicate the resources needed to sustain a comprehensive program of labor inspections that will free Mexican workers to challenge protection contracts. Without these significant improvements, NAFTA 2.0 will perpetuate NAFTA’s inadequacies to the detriment of workers in all three countries.
We stress the need for effective labor rights because workers will benefit little from rules of origin that lack critical improvements labor submitted to USTR, omit important sectors like aerospace and general manufacturing, and are riddled with opaque loopholes. NAFTA 2.0’s automobile rules of origin will not protect American autoworkers, nor will they rebalance trade with Mexico and remake supply chains. The situation of workers can only be improved when they have the right to join together freely for collective action.
The House should not bring NAFTA 2.0 to the floor before it is significantly improved and reflects our core recommendations. An agreement that does so will be worthy of support. If an agreement that falls short in these critical areas is considered, the unions of the IUC will unfortunately have no choice except to oppose its adoption.
Robert Martinez Jr., President, IAMAW
Rory L. Gamble, Acting President, UAW
Thomas M. Conway, President, USW
David Durkee, President, BCTGM
Warren Fairley, Vice President, IBB
Carl Kennebrew, President, IUE-CWA
Anthony M. Perrone, President, UFCW
Cecil E. Roberts, President, UMWA
Joseph Sellers, Jr., General President, SMART
Paul Shearon, President, IFPTE
Bruce Smith, Council President, GMP
Lonnie Stephenson, President, IBEW