(OTTAWA) – The following is a joint statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte in response to the end of round three of NAFTA renegotiations here on Wednesday.
“Teamsters sent a strong and diverse coalition to Ottawa to advocate for workers during NAFTA talks.
“Teamsters urged Canadian officials to work with the United States to fix the mistake of including long-haul trucking in the original NAFTA. U.S. and Canadian negotiators were briefed on suggested language that would provide a level-playing field, ensure a safe trucking fleet on highways and improve working conditions and wages for Mexican drivers.
“Teamsters in the U.S. and Canada are united in demanding that the issue of Mexican trucking be addressed in these negotiations. Teamsters also remain steadfast in their defense of supply management in the dairy sector.
“The first draft of the proposed U.S. labor chapter, which was tabled yesterday, is inadequate. The interests of working and middle class families are better served by the current Canadian proposal. Teamsters remain committed to supporting the proposed Canadian labor chapter, which will improve wages and working conditions in all three NAFTA countries and end right-to-work in the United States.
“Right-to-work laws unfairly subsidize corporations by artificially reducing wages and working conditions. NAFTA countries should compete on the basis of productivity, not labor costs. We must end trade deals that lead to a race to the bottom.
“A modernized NAFTA will be a model for future trade deals. It is imperative that our governments get it right when it comes to workers’ rights.”
General President Hoffa and President Laporte would like to thank John McCann, National Director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division, David Froelich, Director of the Teamsters Canada Dairy Division, and Johanne Couture, from the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association. All three individuals helped bring the concerns of workers directly to the attention negotiators during this round of talks.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.