Published Wednesday, December 11, 2019 in The Stand
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was issued this morning, provided the final USMCA text accurately reflects the changes:
Make no mistake, we demanded a trade deal that benefits workers and fought every single day to negotiate that deal; and now we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support.
I am grateful to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies on the USMCA working group, along with Senate champions like Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden, for standing strong with us throughout this process as we demanded a truly enforceable agreement. I also commend Ambassador Robert Lighthizer for being a straight shooter and an honest broker as we worked toward a resolution.
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.
President Trump may have opened this deal. But working people closed it. And for that, we should be very proud.