Canada's wake-up call to the US on NAFTA


B00Mer
No Party Affiliation
+1
#1
Canada's wake-up call to the US on NAFTA



(CNN)President Donald Trump, a loud and persistent critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), recently began renegotiating this trade deal with Canada and Mexico. The President promised to secure a fair deal for American workers. That sounds great. After all, we don't think Americans should be forced to compete with poorly paid workers from Mexico or elsewhere, and we can demand that companies that want to trade with us lift wages, benefits, and health and safety standards for their foreign workers.

So it probably came as a shock that one of Canada's main goals in this renegotiation is to get the United States to treat our own workers better. Canada doesn't want its workers competing with poorly-treated laborers -- including workers in the United States. And they have a specific target in mind.

According to Canada's major newspaper The Globe and Mail, Canadian negotiators are urging the United States to roll back so-called state "right to work" laws that undercut worker power in the US. I'm glad we're renegotiating NAFTA because it has been a raw deal for American workers. But the Canadians are giving America a wake-up call. As negotiations continue, the United States should take a close look at how our own broken labor policies are hurting American workers -- and fix them.

The Canadians focused on so-called "right-to-work" laws, the state regulations that make union dues optional even when unions bargain and represent all the workers. These state laws are a powerful weapon in the war against working people. Twenty-eight states have passed these laws, whose main purpose is to make it harder for workers to have the resources they need to stand up for themselves. Because of these laws starving unions of resources, union leaders face an uphill battle when they try to help workers join together to advocate for higher wages and benefits. And the completely predictable consequences for workers in these states have been devastating.

Strong unions lift wages for all workers -- even those workers who aren't union members. Union membership is sharply lower in "right-to-work" states -- after all, that was the whole point of these laws. And the impact is clear: In "right-to-work" states, wages are lower and employees are less likely to have access to employer-provided health care and pensions -- and that's true for union and nonunion employees.

The decline in unionization over the last 30 years has hollowed out America's middle class. For the more than 40 million nonunion people in America's private workforce, the lost wages add up to about $109 billion every year.

Unemployment has declined and corporate profits have gone up, but workers don't have the kind of bargaining power that unions once created.

Instead of strengthening the rights of working people, the Trump administration has pushed in the opposite direction. Since taking office, President Trump has signed several laws that directly undermine the wages, benefits, health and safety of American workers. The President and the Republican Congress have rolled back rules designed to make sure federal contractors don't cheat their workers out of hard-earned wages. They've delayed safety standards that keep workers from being exposed to lethal carcinogenic materials. They've given shady financial advisers a few extra months to cheat hardworking Americans out of billions in retirement savings. The list goes on.

The assault on America's workers didn't start with President Trump. For decades, armies of lawyers and lobbyists who represent a handful of giant corporations have pressed our federal and state governments to pursue policies that maximize corporate profits at the expense of the health, safety, and financial security of their workers. Over time, those laws have taken their toll. And now, instead of looking to America for the example of workers who enjoy the best pay, best benefits, and best working conditions in the world, our trading partners are complaining about working conditions in America that are falling below their own standards.

A nation that cares about its workers shouldn't need foreign negotiators to sound the alarm. It's a national embarrassment -- and it should spur us to action.
That's why earlier last week I introduced a bill repealing the provision in the National Labor Relations Act that allows states to implement "right-to-work" laws. Giant companies that have become accustomed to squeezing every last dime of profit out of their workers in "right-to-work" states will fight any effort to improve workers' rights. But let's be clear: we don't allow these corporations to exploit their workers when we negotiate trade deals with countries like Colombia or Panama. As we renegotiate NAFTA, we shouldn't allow them to exploit workers in Canada and Mexico, either. And above all, we must not let them exploit our own workers here at home.

Canada's wake-up call to the US on NAFTA (opinion) - CNN
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
+2
#2  Top Rated Post
The process of negotiating other trade deals around the world, begun by the Tories.is happening none too soon. We've had all of our eggs in the NAFTA basket and our key partner is becoming increasingly politically and economically unstable.
 
petros
+1
#3
There are clauses that say we are obligated to keep a resource flowing.

Example, if we export 2M bbl as a new high we have to keep that much oil flowing.

There is no way in Hell they can be energy self reliant if Canada and Mexico are obligated to export to the US.
 
B00Mer
No Party Affiliation
#4
Still say, the Electricity that the USA gets from Ontario that is subsidized by the residents of Ontario should be the biggest bargaining chip.

Ontario electricity customers have paid more than $6 billion to dump surplus, high-priced power: study
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#5
Interesting that many of these right to work laws came in under Obama's reign. Also he did little to help workers but instead focused on his rich cronies.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by avro12 View Post

Does the clause also state we must export that amount even if we are of short supply?

Just a question, something I heard years ago in the original negotiations.

My understanding is we would have to share equally.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by avro12 View Post

So you are against right to work laws?

As they are written, yes. What they turned out to be is a race to the bottom. They do nothing to protect workers rights, instead letting companies find cheaper labour.
 
White_Unifier
#8
What's wrong with right-to-work laws. Contrary to the myth, they do not ban establishing or joining a union. They just give the workers a right to choose. How terrible is that?

If you want to introduce a minimum guaranteed income, fine. But don't shut a worker out of a job just because he doesn't want to join a union.

If you want to introduce co-determination laws like in Germany so as to ensure management consult with workers, by all means. But again, don't force them to join a labour union.
 
MHz
#9
Care about 'workers' in reality means getting as much production out of them at the lowest possible cost. The crossroad just ahead either means more of the same with your worth of society is based on hours worked. Technology can be made to benefit society as soon as not being employed doesn't carry the 'worthless eater' label. Workers of today still have to build the first bots before the issue is an equal income for all that is not based on employment status. There could be 3 classes of people, people in the service industry tourists and hobbyists. Bots take care of all the minor details.
 
White_Unifier
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by avro12 View Post

That won't work in the US corporatism or unionism.

Why would right-to-work laws not work in the US when they already have those laws in many states? Instead of Canada attacking workers' freedoms in the US, we should be learning from the US on that front. I'm not saying the US can't learn from Canada or that they can both learn from other countries too, but just that on this particular front, right-to-work laws a good thing as they provide a check on the power of labour unions.
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

Why would right-to-work laws not work in the US when they already have those laws in many states?

"Cause its creepin' Commynism and Jaysus don't like it.

"Where's mah guun?"
 
White_Unifier
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

"Cause its creepin' Commynism and Jaysus don't like it.

"Where's mah guun?"


Right-to-work laws are creeping communism? Republicans are their strongest proponents while labour-unionists are among the most vocal opponents of right-to-work laws.
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

What's wrong with right-to-work laws. Contrary to the myth, they do not ban establishing or joining a union. They just give the workers a right to choose. How terrible is that?

If you want to introduce a minimum guaranteed income, fine. But don't shut a worker out of a job just because he doesn't want to join a union.

If you want to introduce co-determination laws like in Germany so as to ensure management consult with workers, by all means. But again, don't force them to join a labour union.

If it is a union business and you are getting the union negotiated wage and bennies you should pay dues. Otherwise negotiate your own contract.
 
Tecumsehsbones
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

"Cause its creepin' Commynism and Jaysus don't like it.

"Where's mah guun?"

What do you need? I'll ship it to you labelled "Machine Parts."
 
taxslave
Free Thinker
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

Why would right-to-work laws not work in the US when they already have those laws in many states? Instead of Canada attacking workers' freedoms in the US, we should be learning from the US on that front. I'm not saying the US can't learn from Canada or that they can both learn from other countries too, but just that on this particular front, right-to-work laws a good thing as they provide a check on the power of labour unions.

RIght to work laws don't mean what you seem to think.
 
Curious Cdn
No Party Affiliation
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Tecumsehsbones View Post

What do you need? I'll ship it to you labelled "Machine Parts."

... a 50 cal with a screw-on silencer ...
 
Bar Sinister
No Party Affiliation
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

The process of negotiating other trade deals around the world, begun by the Tories.is happening none too soon. We've had all of our eggs in the NAFTA basket and our key partner is becoming increasingly politically and economically unstable.

Becoming unstable? The main reason Canada entered into the FTA in the first place was the instability of the Reagan administration and the ranting of protectionist members of Congress.
 

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