(WASHINGTON) – In response to recent reports that North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiators are being pressured by the “free trade” lobby to abandon the ambitious reforms of NAFTA 2.0, the presidents of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Teamsters Canada are calling on their respective governments to keep working and not capitulate to corporate pressure and artificial deadlines.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa explained, “We’ve waited nearly a quarter century to get out of the flawed and failed NAFTA deal. The premise of these talks all along has been that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing all the way. Ambassador Lighthizer and the NAFTA team at the USTR have worked hard to rebalance the old trade pact in several ways that we could support in a ratification vote in Congress, as long as the new deal represents real reform around key Teamster priority issues like labor, cross-border trucking and the elimination of the old ‘investor-to-state’ mechanism in the investment chapter. We feel strongly that they should not give up now.”
Teamsters Canada President François Laporte concurred. “A ‘skinny NAFTA’ is a terrible idea,” he said. “We have supported the Trudeau government throughout the talks, going back to the first round last summer, and especially their progressive approach to workers’ rights in a new labor chapter. They have made great progress on this central issue for which we commend them. Now we must encourage them to stay the course and to stay at the negotiating table.”
The Teamsters are North America’s supply chain union. Among its members are long-haul truckers, freight rail conductors and trainmen, port drivers, air freight and warehouse workers. If something is in international trade, this union’s members have probably touched it. The Teamsters are pro-trade, but want fair trade.