PITTSBURGH, July 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement on the effective date of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA):
"The USW sought for years to replace the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with an agreement that was fair to workers, that ensured good jobs for families and communities in all three countries, and that protected our planet for future generations.
"While the new version of NAFTA, the USMCA, gets us closer to those goals, there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that this new deal is effective in protecting good jobs, preserving our environment, and ensuring workers' rights.
"Despite the big promises workers have gotten from Washington, D.C., in recent years, the U.S. trade deficit with its North American trading partners has only increased under this administration. This is simply unacceptable and unsustainable. We have to do better.
"The labor movement, led by thousands of USW members, pushed hard to ensure that the USMCA was a significant improvement over NAFTA, which cost the United States tens of thousands of good manufacturing jobs. Thanks to the hard work of Democrats in Congress, the new agreement contains stronger language to protect good jobs from offshoring and to ensure workers' rights, particularly in Mexico.
"Unfortunately, Mexico's government still fails to control greedy corporations and provide the strong labor protections that the Mexican people deserve.
"The harsh repression of democratic unions in Mexico by Grupo Mexico (which has also been charged by the National Labor Relations Board with violating the rights of USW and other union members at its Asarco subsidiary in the U.S.), the murders of union organizers at Canadian company Torex Gold, and the recent unjust arrest and imprisonment of labor attorney Susana Prieto Terrazas, prove that Mexico hasn't stopped the bullying of workers and their allies.
"We also can't ignore that today's implementation of the USMCA comes at a perilous time for all workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken thousands of lives, cost millions their jobs, and put the health of millions more at risk. Now, more than ever, we need to protect working people and fight for good, family-supporting jobs for people across North America.
"Simply put, the USMCA is a baseline, not a final destination. It sets minimum standards, and we must continue to fight each day to ensure those standards are enforced. As we look forward to future trade pacts with other countries, we will seek even stronger rules to protect workers and communities from offshoring, pollution, unfair trade policies and violations of labor rights."
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
Contact: R.J. Hufnagel, [email protected], 412-562-2450
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)