Delegates to the Canadian Labour Congress convention today committed to work together to fight for fair international trade that is based on the needs of workers, and seeks to create good jobs and fight inequity, rather than serving the needs of corporations.
“Every one of our communities has been affected by bad trade deals,” Chris Taylor, past chair of the Unifor Auto Council and now a national staff representative. “We need to make sure that ongoing so-called free trade agreements are worker-friendly trade agreements.”
The actions came on the first day of the CLC convention, with more than 1,000 Unifor delegates present. CLC President Hassan Yussuff opened the conference with a speech that received rousing applause for his call for a strong and active labour movement, including a stronger role in trade talks for labour
“There are quite a few people in this room who know how to negotiate,” Yussuff said.
Unifor plans to launch a major fair trade campaign at Canadian Council this summer.
Taylor told the CLC convention that labour previously warned that NAFTA would hurt working people, and has since been proven right as thousands of jobs were lost under the deal.
“We warned them. NAFTA would be bad for workers. It was not a worker-friendly agenda. It was a corporate-friendly agenda.”
The Working for a Fair Future policy paper and several resolutions passed at the convention call on the CLC and its affiliates to demand that trade deals strengthen labour and environmental provisions, abolish investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, place no limits on government procurement, protect supply management, ensure a fair softwood lumber deal and more.