UAW official: NAFTA’s labor provisions need a ‘total relook’

  • November 8, 2017

UAW: NAFTA’s labor provisions need a ‘total relook’

The UAW is focusing on global affairs this week.  There is the election at Chinese owned Fuyao in Dayton Ohio, and now they want NAFTA completely rewritten.

POLITICO reports that according to the UAW, President Donald Trump and his administration must fundamentally rewrite “toothless” labor provisions in NAFTA and move them into the core text of the agreement in order for the renegotiated deal to be successful, a top official with the United Auto Workers said today.

Josh Nassar, UAW’s legislative director, slammed the current deal as poorly designed and harmful to workers in all three countries, saying it “really puts investors and corporate America in the driver’s seat instead of the workers.”

Nassar focused in particular on labor issues in Mexico — namely, low wages, a lack of unions and an inability for workers to collectively bargain.

“If we don’t do anything about the problems in Mexico, and the fact that there aren’t real rights for workers in Mexico, then it’s very hard to see how the situation is going to improve,” Nassar said at an event hosted by Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business.

The overarching goal, he said, should be to raise wages and living standards in all three countries while also adding enforcement mechanisms that benefit workers.

“There’s no track record of these labor chapters working, so what we need is a total relook at labor chapters in a fundamental way,” he said.

At the same time, Nassar said, tighter labor regulations would also help address the U.S.’ trade deficit in goods with its North American partners, which Trump has made a top priority for the renegotiation.

“I would suggest that companies who mistreat their workers, who deny their basic rights, who aggressively underpay them, should not have a competitive advantage because of that exploitation,” he said. “It’s a dumping of sorts.”