(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the release of reports from the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN) and Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) today regarding the finalizing of a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Hoffa is a member of both panels.
“The Teamsters are pleased with the progress that has been made towards replacing NAFTA. As North America’s supply chain union, the Teamsters have a big stake in cross-border trade. That’s why we appreciate the creative approach by the USTR in fixing a problem with the original NAFTA that is a legacy issue for us and our allies among environmental and highway safety advocates. To the extent that the United States has reserved the right to institute new restrictions on Mexican-domiciled carriers in NAFTA 2.0, we look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to craft those new restrictions in the implementing legislation and new regulations.
“We also note with approval the considerable progress on workers’ rights. The new Labor Chapter and the annex with Mexico contain obligations and protections that are superior to the original NAFTA, and also to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, until we are satisfied that those obligations will be subject to swift and sure enforcement, we cannot endorse this renegotiation. Similarly, unless the Mexican government adopts new labor laws that meet their constitutional requirements and the new criteria of this NAFTA, then the fundamental flaw of the original pact will remain unresolved, American jobs will continue to migrate south, and this union must therefore withhold our unconditional support.
“In short, there is still work to be done on this deal and more analysis is necessary before the Teamsters can give it our unqualified support. The ink is still wet and Canada only rejoined the pact at the last minute — as I and the leadership of Teamsters Canada have asked for all along – so we need some time to analyze the effects of this new ‘USMCA’ agreement on all our members.
“Last but not least, we do not yet have a sense how the implementing bill will enhance the monitoring and enforcement provisions of the agreement, especially in the Labor Chapter. Like others on these advisory committees, both the ACTPN and the LAC, the Teamsters will wait and see how this good start results in a trilateral agreement that will work for workers across North America.”
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.