The White House staff is meeting with leaders of some major unions to discuss trade, according to a report from POLITICO.
President Donald Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and other White House officials will meet with a half-dozen labor union leaders to talk about trade, the White House said today.
Labor leaders who will attend the meeting include Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO; Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers; James Hoffa, president of the Teamsters; Chris Shelton, president of the Communications Workers of America; Robert Martinez, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; and Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers.
The closed-door meeting, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the White House, comes as the administration is gearing up for the seventh round of talks to renegotiate NAFTA. Negotiators from all three countries will convene the next round on Sunday in Mexico City.
Besides Trump and Lighthizer, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, chief of staff John Kelly, senior adviser Jared Kushner and staff secretary Derek Lyons will also be in attendance.
The White House did not release details of what would be on the meeting agenda, but attendees are sure to discuss labor provisions in NAFTA. Labor leaders and Democrats in Congress have been pushing for stricter labor standards in any renegotiated deal, saying the Trump administration’s initial proposal should only be considered as a “starting point.”
Lighthizer has recognized labor shortcomings in Mexico but has not committed to offering a revised proposal nor has he explained how enforceable the current U.S. proposal would be, lawmakers said during the last round of talks.
Per POLITICO Pro, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today that “many of the things” President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address “are undermined by the actual policies he supports.”
“While he’s rightly acknowledged problems in trade,” Trumka said in a written statement, “America’s workers are still victim to corporate-designed deals, and last night he offered no solutions to make NAFTA benefit working people. While he recognizes the crisis of outsourcing jobs, his tax bill actually encourages corporations to do it. While he promises to put America back to work building infrastructure, he actually wants to spend more on a border wall than investing in all of America’s infrastructure for an entire year. And he uses hardworking Dreamers and TPS recipients as a bargaining chip to do it.”
Trumka also said Trump’s regulatory rollback “really means working people are denied wages and workplaces are less safe.”
Labor organizations accuse Mexico of not complying with NAFTA labor regs
Per POLITICO, the AFL-CIO and Mexico’s National Workers Union accused Mexico of not complying with its NAFTA labor obligations in a joint complaint filed today.
The unions argue Mexican businesses’ widespread use of so-called “protection contracts” — which allow an employer to sign an agreement with an employer-friendly union without the involvement of some workers — violates the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the labor corollary to NAFTA.
“This system continues because the Mexican labor authorities allow it to happen,” the unions wrote in a filing to NAALC’s U.S. national administrative office. The filing also accuses the government of President Pena Nieto of endorsing labor legislation that “brazenly violates the central obligations of the NAALC.”
The complaint comes as House Democrats urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to push Mexico for improved labor standards in a renegotiated NAFTA deal in a letter sent Tuesday.