Teamsters in both the United States and Canada are coming out in support of the new NAFTA following changes to the agreement made by Democrats in Congress.
The Teamsters Union has long opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Teamster jobs are tied to trade and members have suffered the impact of the original NAFTA for more than a quarter century.
Teamsters want trade, but it has to be fair trade that puts working people and their families first.
The USMCA (U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement) wasn’t worthy of ratification a year ago. Since then, the Teamsters Union, House Democrats, our labor allies and many other fair trade allies worked to secure improvements to the agreement as signed by the party countries.
Now, for the first time, workers’ interests are protected by enforceable labor standards. The revised final USMCA is better than the initially signed USMCA agreement and a significant improvement over the original NAFTA.
“The International Brotherhood of Teamsters will support this trade agreement,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “The renegotiation of NAFTA and the improvements made by Democratic leadership have resulted in a final package that is superior to the original.”
“New improvements to labor rights and a more enforceable labor chapter have made a real difference,” Teamsters Canada President François Laporte said. “Nobody got everything they wanted, but our union has decided not to make the perfect the enemy of the good.”
The USMCA includes improvements which will directly benefit Teamster members. Among these is the overdue fix to the cross-border trucking provision that threatened highway safety and the competitiveness of the American trucking industry.
The USMCA represents good progress for working people, but trade policy alone cannot fully address economic injustice. To that end, the Teamsters Union has no greater policy priority for the 116th Congress than protecting Teamster pensions and addressing the multiemployer pension funding crisis. Signing the Butch Lewis Act into law must be the next priority for lawmakers.
“We urge our elected leadership to come together in a bipartisan manner now and work to achieve a pension protection policy solution with the same level of commitment and urgency applied to the USMCA negotiation process,” Hoffa said.