The nation’s most prominent labor unions are coming out strong to support President Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal that will replace the job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Last week, the lawmakers in the House passed the latest version of USMCA, garnering major support from labor union leaders such as the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the United Steelworkers.
“Because of our patience and perseverance, the USMCA now includes strong labor rights and a viable mechanism to enforce them,” Trumka wrote in an op-ed for CNN, praising the trade deal. “We also secured a separate enforcement mechanism that allows for inspections of factories and facilities that don’t live up to their obligations. This was an important priority for the labor movement because it ensures that working people in all three countries have greater protections under this new agreement.”
Trumka wrote that the deal “isn’t perfect,” but that it is “a far cry from the original NAFTA, and that is a huge win for working people in North America.”
United Steelworkers President Thomas Conway said in a statement that USMCA is “certainly better than NAFTA,” with its provisions demanding Mexico change its labor laws so that American workers are not forced to compete against vastly low-wage Mexican nationals:
The revised deal is better than the original USMCA and certainly better than NAFTA. It should be adopted. The leaders of all three countries must diligently enforce the provisions, however, and we intend to hold them accountable to ensure that workers, the environment and consumers are protected. [Emphasis added]
Outsourcing won’t end as companies continue to search the globe for places where they can profit off of the hard work of others, spoil the environment to improve their balance sheets and raise prices for basic needs. The fight for fair trade won’t end with this agreement, but it’s an agreement worth passing. [Emphasis added]
The left-wing Public Citizen organization, which tracks globalization’s impact on American workers, even released a statement noting that trade deals such as USMCA are where trade negotiations should start rather than deals such as former President Obama’s failed Trans Pacific-Partnership (TPP).
“The unusually large, bipartisan vote on the revised [USMCA] shows that to be politically viable, U.S. trade pacts no longer can include extreme corporate investor privileges or broad monopoly protections for Big Pharma and must have enforceable labor and environmental standards, in contrast to the 2016 Trans-Pacific Partnership, which never got close to majority House support,” Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach said.
As Breitbart News has chronicled, decades-long free trade deals, NAFTA, and China’s entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) eliminated about five million American manufacturing jobs and 50,000 U.S. manufacturing plants since 1994. American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries.
Free trade advocates, such former Vice President Joe Biden, claimed at the time that NAFTA would create a million U.S. manufacturing jobs in the first five years. Instead, nearly a million American jobs have been certified by the federal government as being lost directly due to NAFTA, according to data gathered by Public Citizen. These are only the U.S. jobs that the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program recognizes as being lost to free trade and does not indicate the actual number of jobs lost.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.