Unions: NAFTA Replacement ‘An Improvement,’ But Not Enough

AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington D.C. | Matt Popovich/Wikipedia (CC)

Trump, in trying to replace NAFTA, needs Democrats’ support. The question is, with the 2020 election looming, do they want to give Trump a win?

WASHINGTON, DC—Union officials were invited to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to testify in a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing about President Trump’s efforts to replace the North American Free Trade Pact, known as NAFTA.

“Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was one of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises and part of his broader push for better terms of trade for the United States,” noted Reuters.

Although the Administration has negotiated a pact known as USCMA, it has yet to be ratified in Congress, and Democrats are not in a rush to do so.

Despite loathing NAFTA for more than two decades, union critics say that the President’s USMCA, while it is an improvement over NAFTA, does not go far enough, according to Reuters.

“[R]epresentatives from some of the largest and most influential U.S. unions told members of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee the reworked trade pact does not go far enough to ensure improvement of wages and working conditions, especially for Mexican workers.

Despite Mexico having agreed to “new protections for union workers, such as establishing independent courts for labor disputes, have faced opposition from some members of Mexico’s Congress and the Mexican business community,” reported CNN.

The problem is, with regard to Mexico, it does not appear that anyone believes the country will enforce what it has agreed to in the USCMA.

“All the NAFTA renegotiation efforts in the world will not create U.S. jobs, raise U.S. wages or reduce the U.S. trade deficit if the new rules do not include clear, strong and effective labor rules that require Mexico to abandon its low wage policy,” said Celeste Drake of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

“The (USMCA) labor chapter is an improvement. The problem is the enforceability mechanism,” said Shane Larson, a director with the Communications Workers of America, advocating for reopening the newly-negotiated agreement.

Josh Nassar, legislative director of the United Auto Workers stated that the USMCA “takes some positive steps but doesn’t measure up to being able to make more good-paying jobs now and going forward.”

If Trump cannot get Congress to ratify the USCMA, it will be a huge blow to those who supported him based on the promise to scrap NAFTA.

Perhaps, though, that is what Democrats are banking on.


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