USW: Work Ahead to Ensure USMCA Improvements

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Thomas M. Conway issued the following statement today after President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a disaster for American workers. As corporations outsourced jobs and production to Mexico, good, family-sustaining manufacturing jobs disappeared, hollowing out communities and dragging down middle-class wages.

"The USW opposed NAFTA from the outset. Our members understand as well as anyone the devastating consequences of bad trade deals and have been among those hardest hit as greedy corporations shift their operations away from the United States and Canada.

"The original USMCA, which the administration negotiated in 2018, was inadequate and left workers in all three countries vulnerable.

"The labor community and its Democratic allies, especially Sens. Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, worked tirelessly to remedy the first version of the USMCA and were successful in addressing the most pressing concerns, including enforcement mechanisms to hold Mexico accountable to its new labor laws.

"Thanks to the improvements we fought for and won, this USMCA is significantly better than the original, and the USW supports it. It was the product of compromise. It's far from perfect, but leaving the original NAFTA in place was not an option.

"There is still a great deal of work to do, however, to ensure that corporations stop exploiting workers in their quest for larger and larger profits. For all who supported this agreement, the work is just beginning to ensure it lives up to all its promises.

"Mexico must honor its commitment to improving labor conditions, which will require devoting proper resources and attention to enforcing its labor laws. The United States and Canada must also be vigilant in ensuring that workers' rights are a top priority.

"The U.S. government must further support other policies that will combat rampant economic inequality and level the playing field for working people. This includes a commitment to affordable health care, retirement security, infrastructure investment, a healthy environment and stronger labor protections in the United States.

"The new USMCA will only be an improvement if there is a shared commitment to helping workers in all three countries. While this deal does not erase the legacy of NAFTA, it offers us a new starting point in our approach to international trade. We will have to build on it to make certain trade agreements promote, rather than undermine, the interests of working people."

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, 412-562-2444,

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)