WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2019 – The House of Representatives should not vote on a renegotiated NAFTA agreement until critical flaws in U.S. trade policy are fixed, writes Robert Martinez Jr., International President of the 600,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in a letter to members of Congress.
The IAM has been a leader in demanding that NAFTA 2.0 include significant changes that stop the continued outsourcing of jobs to Mexico.
Martinez recently wrote a letter to 14 House Democrats, urging them to halt pressure for a quick NAFTA 2.0 ratification vote.
The IAM is on the record throughout the renegotiation process that NAFTA 2.0 lacks adequate labor standards, enforcement of those standards and other urgently needed reforms that would curtail the outsourcing of aerospace and general manufacturing jobs.
Read the IAM’s entire letter opposing the consideration of NAFTA 2.0 until stronger labor standards, effective enforcement and other reforms are included in the text to stop outsourcing.
I am writing on behalf of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), to oppose consideration of the renegotiated NAFTA until our long-standing concerns are addressed and our recommendations are incorporated into the final text of the agreement. Acceding to the demands by the Administration to rush a vote on this matter while these issues are ignored would have disastrous results for U.S. workers. It would also constitute a wasted opportunity to fix the fundamental flaws of our nation’s trade policy which continues to cost U.S. workers hundreds of thousands of jobs.
NAFTA 2.0, as currently written, does not come close to reflecting the much-need changes that labor has submitted to USTR. This agreement will not be ready to be considered until its text is changed to reflect our detailed suggestions regarding a number of chapters, including those concerning labor standards, enforcement and rules of origin. Without such changes, NAFTA 2.0 will continue to foster the continuing outsourcing of U.S. jobs to Mexico, as companies seek to take advantage of workers who do not enjoy fundamental human rights. Among other matters, strong and enforceable labor standards, which are missing from the current agreement, must be included in its text. Other provisions that would remove the incentives to outsource U.S. manufacturing jobs must be addressed. In aerospace and related industries alone, thousands of jobs that could have been created in the U.S. are now contributing to over 40,000 aerospace jobs that currently exist in Mexico.
Mexico’s efforts to address its continued violations of fundamental human rights through the elimination of protection contracts, as well as other violations of workers’ rights, still leave us unconvinced that it has the resources and institutional commitment to effectively implement these much-needed reforms. If the House considers the renegotiated NAFTA at this time, it will lose its leverage with Mexico to honor its commitments to reform its labor law.
Until the text of NAFTA 2.0 is greatly improved incorporating our many recommendations, it should not be brought to the floor for a vote. If the agreement as currently written is considered, the IAM will have no other choice than to oppose it.
Robert Martinez, Jr.
The IAM represents 600,000 active and retired members in the North American aerospace, defense, airline, manufacturing, transportation, woodworking, the federal sector and other industries. Machinists Union members work at Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, General Electric, United Airlines, Harley-Davidson and more. Visit goIAM.org for more information.
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