Unifor strongly advocated for labour rights during round two of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations in Mexico City and brought workers issues to the forefront.
“Our union forced discussion of labour rights with the NAFTA negotiating teams and their respective governments, with international media, and with Mexican workers” said National President Jerry Dias. “We have made it clear that Unifor will oppose any deal that allows multi-national corporations to continue to pay workers poverty wages.”
Dias led a Unifor delegation that included Quebec Director Renaud Gagné and the Directors of Unifor’s Human Rights and International and Research departments.
On September 1, Dias spoke directly to thousands of Mexican workers at a labour rally.
“Donald Trump talks of building a wall. We do not need a wall, we need a bridge,” Dias told the cheering crowd. “NAFTA has hurt workers in all three countries and we must work together to right past wrongs.”
The delegation also attended the Los Mineros annual conference, where Dias called on the Mexican government to publicly state that the union’s President Napoleón Gómez Urrutia can end his exile in Canada and return home.
Safety concerns are a reality for many Mexican labour leaders as they oppose so-called “yellow” unions that operate under corporate control and unchecked by the government.
“The legitimate labour movement is battling to wrestle back worker’s power from corporations and corporate unions, and for government enforcement of labour laws,” said Quebec Director Renaud Gagné. “The inclusion of improved labour rights in the new NAFTA will aid in that fight.”
While in Mexico Unifor also continued its role as advisor to the Canadian NAFTA negotiation team, a role it will resume during the next talks scheduled for Ottawa on September 23-27.
For more information visit unifor.org/NAFTA.