USW: NAFTA Still Needs Work

CONTACT: Holly Hart; (202) 778-4384;

“Today’s signing is an important milestone, but it is only another step in the process to reform NAFTA. For roughly 25 years, workers have struggled under the oppressive weight of NAFTA which has suppressed wages, living standards and opportunities.

“NAFTA and implementing legislation must reverse the corporate incentives to outsource production and, instead, promote investments in plants, equipment and people domestically. This week’s announcement by General Motors that it intends to throw 15,000 workers onto the unemployment lines as the Christmas season approaches is clear evidence that corporations are only interested in profits.

“In certain areas, the text of the new agreement is an improvement. But Mexico must pass legislation to enforce the labor and environmental standards to which it committed. And, mechanisms must be established to ensure provisions are aggressively implemented, monitored and enforced.

“This week Mexico inaugurates a new President, and new political leaders control their Congress. Mexico has made commitments to its people. We have every reason to believe that the new political leadership will faithfully adopt strong provisions to implement its constitutional commitments.

“It is in the interest of workers in all three countries to ensure that Mexico adopts strong workers’ rights provisions and monitors and enforces their implementation. Workers in Mexico must be able to form labor organizations and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions to stop downward pressure on wages in Canada and the United States.

“We will continue to work with the U.S. Trade representative (USTR), the Department of Labor and Congress to promote manufacturing and family-supportive jobs. Only when all the issues have been resolved and it’s clear that Mexico is fully and faithfully recognizing workers’ rights, should Congress vote on the agreement and implementing legislation.”

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-6961

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222