Labor Standards Are Key In New Round Of NAFTA Talks

By Doug Cunningham

The next round of NAFTA re-negotiations kick off Friday in Mexico City. The AFL-CIO’s Celeste Drake says how workers are treated is a key issue in re-shaping NAFTA.

[Celeste Drake]: “NAFTA is not a trade agreement so much as an investment agreement. An agreement to make it easier to outsource jobs. This essential element, this threat and this reality to outsource jobs to Mexico was premised on the fact that when they got to Mexico these firms could deny worker rights and freedoms.

They would be allowed to pay inhuman wages and maintain unsafe working conditions. And this is what cuts off America workers at the knees.”

Drake says corporations and CEO’s benefit the most from NAFTA because they wrote it. That’s why the AFL-CIO wants workers to have a real voice in re-shaping NAFTA.

[Celeste Drake]: “Global corporations and their CEO’s have generally benefited from NAFTA. And that’s because they wrote it.

They stuffed into it an assortment of rules designed to meet their needs and serve their interests. And most of these benefits come at the cost of ordinary working families.”

Lori Wallach of Global Trade Watch.

[Lori Wallach]: “The most pivotal question is whether Mexico and Canada will engage on the series of proposals to really re-shape NAFTA that were submitted by the United States during the fourth round of talks here in DC in October. Or how it might handle Canada’s proposal with respect with dealign with the abysmal labor standards and wages in Mexico and labor standards in general.”

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