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Commentary
Meet the new NAFTA — same as the old NAFTA — bad for workers

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, June 28, 2019

By Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, President,
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for workers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. And today, it’s back on the table to be renegotiated. Unfortunately, little progress has been made in improving the agreement. Working people have suffered from and will continue to bear the burden of the failures of these bad trade deals.

The outsourcing of jobs from the U.S. and the subsequent exploitation of workers in Mexico have toppled entire industries. This disruption has come at a price that has torn working families apart, destroyed communities and contributed to the humanitarian crises we are facing around the globe.

The only winners with NAFTA are large global companies who get to write the economic rules. They can monopolize large markets and huge swaths of industries, particularly auto, aerospace, processed meat, call centers and pharmaceutical. This monopoly power drives costs up for everyday consumers, wages down for the workers and profits up for the companies.

Our mobilization as a labor movement stopped TPP — and now we must do that again. Contact your U.S. Senators!

The few worker protections that currently are included in the new NAFTA agreement are meaningless because there is no enforcement mechanism whatsoever. A key component of any new trade deal should be enforcement that includes monitoring and, of course, reliable funding. Currently, none of that exists in the new NAFTA trade deal.

The solution to bad trade deals is not less trade, but better rules. The new NAFTA agreement should raise wages, not keep in place the race to the bottom. The new NAFTA agreement should protect workers, not erode rules that keep workers safe on the job. The new NAFTA agreement should prevent the outsourcing of jobs, not encourage it.

We must mobilize to defeat this new version of NAFTA and demand that the necessary changes are made. Our mobilization as a labor movement stopped TPP — and now we must do that again. Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives and educate your coworkers about what we need in a good trade deal.

Please follow us on social media to keep up with updates on this negotiation and to learn more about what you can do to help.

Contact MRLF president Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou at 612-321-5670 or chelsie@minneapolisunions.org.



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