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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 23, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 12
Pride at Work joins 1,044 organizations to demand changes to NAFTA
Section One
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Pride at Work joins 1,044 organizations to demand changes to NAFTA

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Pride at Work, the AFL-CIO's LGBT constituency organization, joined 1,044 labor, faith, and human rights groups to demand a replacement for NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

NAFTA has been controversial since it was negotiated in the 1990s. Labor organizations charge that 'free trade' treaties like NAFTA allow US corporations to relocate factories in countries where wages are low and workplace safety standards are lax. Human rights groups add that human rights and environmental regulations in those countries might also be below US standards.

'Instead of leveling the playing field, NAFTA makes it easier for big corporations to outsource jobs to Mexico to take advantage of poverty wages and lax environmental standards,' the organizations say in an open letter to federal officials.

'To date, more than 930,000 American jobs have been certified as lost to NAFTA under just one narrow government program. Meanwhile, Mexican wages are down 9% in real terms since NAFTA and below $2 per hour, while American wages have remained flat.'

The organizations recommend nine changes needed to improve trade among North American countries:

o Stop outsourcing and raise wages by adding strong labor and environmental standards with swift and certain enforcement.

o Eliminate NAFTA terms that promote outsourcing of US jobs.

o Eliminate NAFTA rules that threaten food safety and product labeling.

o Make medicine more affordable by ending NAFTA rules that increase costs.

o Add strong, enforceable rules against currency manipulation.

o Protect US jobs and labor and environmental standards by strengthening 'rules of origin' and stopping transshipment of manufactured goods.

o Require that all imported goods and all services and service providers meet US standards, and add specific safeguards for US labor, heath, environmental, and other public interest standards.

o Boost the rural economy by rewriting NAFTA rules that harm family farmers.

o The NAFTA renegotiation process must be transparent and participatory.

Spokespeople for the Citizens Trade Campaign, the coalition that sponsored the group letter, said that local activists would deliver copies to federal lawmakers in as many districts as possible.

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