Key NAFTA Sectors
To better understand the impact of NAFTA on the Canadian economy, Unifor has examined several sectors click here
Unifor and United Auto Workers meet Minister Freeland on NAFTA
Toronto – Unifor and the United Auto Workers will meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland to discuss preparations for the upcoming round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations.
"The next talks in Mexico will be key" said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. "We got past the formalities in round one in Washington, now it's time to start seeing some cards on the table."
Unifor and the United Auto Workers, representing auto workers at the Detroit Three in Canada and the U.S., released a joint statement on NAFTA last month.
On Friday, August 25, Unifor National President Jerry Dias and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
Minister Freeland will be available for a joint photo opportunity prior to the meeting. Dias and Williams will be available for comment at the conclusion of the meeting.
WHAT: Unifor and United Auto Workers hold NAFTA meeting with Minister Freeland
WHO: Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Unifor National President Jerry Dias, United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams
WHERE: Minister Freeland's Regional Office, 150 King Street West, 24th Floor, Suite 2404, Toronto, ON
WHEN: 11:00 a.m. Friday August 25
Media to arrive by 10:30 a.m.
Unifor welcomes start of NAFTA renegotiation
WASHINGTON – Unifor welcomes the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, as talks get underway in Washington, D.C.
“It was made clear today that the United States is not interested in a few tweaks,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “It believes NAFTA has failed workers and that a major overhaul is required, which is exactly what Unifor has been saying for years.”
Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, is making its voice heard as the long-awaited renegotiation process begins. Dias is currently in Washington, D.C. as a member of the stakeholders group offering advice to the Canadian negotiators.
“The fate of many good paying jobs and even entire industries are at stake,” said Dias. “It’s incredibly important that Canada gets it right at the negotiating table otherwise we’ll pay for another generation.”
The union has played an active role in the lead up to the negotiations. Dias has already met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross twice to press Unifor’s case that any new NAFTA must address the needs of workers and their communities.
Click here to read Unifor’s submission on NAFTA priorities.
No new NAFTA without strong labour and environmental provisions: Unifor
TORONTO – Canada must be prepared to walk away from the table if meaningful and enforceable labour, gender and Indigenous rights, as well as environmental protections cannot be achieved in a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement, Unifor says.
“Workers and their communities must be at the core of the new deal being negotiated,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said. “This needs to be more than just words or an opening stance for our negotiators. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to fix NAFTA to raise wages and work standards. Without strong and enforceable protections, Canada should walk away from the table.”
On the eve of renegotiating talks to begin this week in Washington, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland this morning outlined the Canadian negotiating team’s top priorities for the talks, often touting Canada-European Union Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
"Canada must do much better than it has with past deals, including CETA, on labour and other provisions,” Dias said. “There can be no tweaking or minor adjustments to NAFTA. Real and substantive changes are needed.”
Dias called for the removal from NAFTA of Chapter 11, which gives companies the right to sue governments if regulations hurt profits. A similar provision in CETA is weak and still hands too much power to corporations, he said.
Strong language is also needed to ensure governments can direct public procurement to local businesses, Dias said. “Procurement rules are the lifeblood for thousands of workers and their communities, and a responsible use of public dollars to support jobs at home,” Dias said.
Dias was also concerned that there was no mention of challenges facing Canada’s auto industry in the Minister’s outline of priorities, beyond outlining how many jobs one company provided.
“The unequal growth in jobs and investment in auto and other manufacturing needs to be acknowledged and addressed by our negotiators going into these talks,” Dais said.
Dias welcomed the commitment to protect Canada’s cultural exemption and its supply managed sectors, saying these are sources of good jobs for many Canadians and need to be protected.