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AFL-CIO Announces Support for USMCA Trade Deal

Democrats are planning to vote for the deal within the next week

Kris LaGrange's picture
Dec 10, 2019

For three years Trump has been attempting to negotiate the USMCA, a trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It now appears that a deal has been reached by Congressional Democrats, Labor, and the White House to give Trump a new trade deal.

The AFL-CIO’s support or opposition to the deal ultimately determined the fate on the deal. In a Tweet on December 10th, Trump said:

Following the tweet, the AFL-CIO released the following statement announcing their support for the trade deal.

Working people are responsible for a deal that is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA and the flawed proposal brought forward in 2017. For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards—including a process that allows for the inspections of factories and facilities that are not living up to their obligations. The USMCA also eliminates special carve-outs for corporations like the giveaway to Big Pharma in the administration’s initial proposal and loopholes designed to make it harder to prosecute labor violations.

The USMCA is far from perfect. It alone is not a solution for outsourcing, inequality or climate change. Successfully tackling these issues requires a full-court press of economic policies that empower workers, including the repeal of tax cuts which reward companies for shipping our jobs overseas. But there is no denying that the trade rules in America will now be fairer because of our hard work and perseverance. Working people have created a new standard for future trade negotiations.

Trump may have opened this deal. But working people closed it. And for that, we should be very proud.

With the support of the AFL-CIO, Democratic Congressman no longer needed to worry about retribution from labor in the upcoming election and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and leader of House Democrats’ USMCA negotiating committee said that a vote on the trade deal could come as early as next week.

While the AFL-CIO is supporting the deal, not all unions are happy with it. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) released a statement opposing the deal.

“As we have made clear from the very beginning of this process, any acceptable deal must effectively address the continued outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of jobs to Mexico. Unfortunately, we are not aware of provisions in the newly negotiated agreement that effectively address this matter, especially when it comes to aerospace and other manufacturing sectors. We also remain troubled over other areas of the agreement that fall short of our repeated recommendations, such as those concerning stronger labor standards, enforcement, and rules of origin. U.S. workers have been waiting over 25 years for a responsible trade deal that puts their interests ahead of corporations who are fleeing our shores. They are still waiting. The IAM will oppose NAFTA 2.0.”

With the House expected to pass the USMCA within the next week, it will then go on to the Senate where top Republicans like Senator John Cornyn and John Thune, have expressed reservations and said that concessions to unions could cost Trump their support for the deal.

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