Update from National President, Jerry Dias – Fair Trade/NAFTA
To date Unifor’s work on the trade file has been outstanding. The efforts of activists, elected leaders and our staff to point out the flaws with NAFTA, and its failure to help Mexican workers have helped to push an agenda for a better NAFTA.
I have heard from workers and union leaders in the U.S. and the Mexico about how our lobbying efforts have brought key issues to the forefront. With the NAFTA renegotiations entering the final stages this weekend as the second Mexico round gets underway, I am here to continue to take our message forward.
This current round of talks in Mexico is an important moment for the Canadian government to start defining what is meant by progressive trade and how a trade deal – NAFTA or otherwise – would address inequities and help to build a more equitable society for all workers here in Canada, the U.S. and in Mexico.
This isn’t just my view but it is the opinion of a majority of Canadians.
Our union collaborated with Environics to conduct a poll with Canadians on their attitudes towards trade and the results are telling and send a clear message about what our government must do.
The poll reveals that the vast majority feel the federal government needs to secure progressive improvements to labour, environmental and other social issues in NAFTA or be prepared to walk away from a bad trade deal.
While 90 per cent of those surveyed are supportive of trade agreements in principle, eight in ten say Canada should walk away from NAFTA if the Americans reject all demands addressing labour, environmental and social issues.
And I couldn’t agree more!
Other key findings of the poll on attitudes toward NAFTA and progressive trade issues include:
• 75 per cent believe the U.S. and major Canadian corporations have benefited from NAFTA while only 29 per cent believe they have personally benefited;
• Nine in ten Canadians support the government’s push for NAFTA changes to better serve society’s interests, including higher labour and environmental standards; and
• Eight in ten Canadians would feel disappointed if the government signs a new NAFTA deal that does not include improved labour, environmental and social provisions.
You can download the full survey results at unifor.org/NAFTA. Be sure to share this important poll with others including your own MP.
Let’s keep up the fight for fair trade, I know that we can continue to make a difference!
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