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AFL-CIO ENDORSES NEW TRADE DEAL AFTER NEGOTIATING MAJOR CHANGES TO PROTECT US WORKERS

December 11th 2019

Democrats in the House of Representatives said today that they had reached an agreement with the administration to enhance labor and enforcement provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, thus securing the support of the AFL-CIO.

“Make no mistake, we demanded a trade deal that benefits workers and fought every single day to negotiate that deal,” said AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka.

“And now we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support.”

“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,” he said.

“For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards—including a process that allows for the inspection of factories and facilities that are not living up to their obligations.”

He said the new deal 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,” he said.

“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 that 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,” he said. “But working people closed it. And for that, we should be very proud.”

The changes to USMCA, which the three countries signed more than a year ago, must now be incorporated into implementing legislation that the House and Senate will both vote on.

The agreement will also need to be signed by the White House and approved by leaders in Mexico and Canada.