Unifor members call for fair trade agreements

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Unifor activists in matching rain ponchos hold flags and a banner at a rally in Montreal.

More than 400 Unifor union members, who are currently meeting for their Quebec Council, marched through the streets of downtown Montreal this afternoon to remind them that thousands of jobs in all regions of Quebec and Canada are at stake in the negotiation of international agreements.

"The Canadian government is being asked to remain firm in both the renegotiation of NAFTA and other trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Labour, environmental and social rights must not be sacrificed in favour of purely financial interests," said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.

This event is a logical extension of the one held last September for the protection of jobs in the aerospace sector. "We did it for the aerospace industry, we also conducted an awareness campaign for softwood lumber and we will continue to defend the rights of our members in all economic sectors, be it aluminum, automotive or others," continued Mr. Gagné.

A recent poll on  renegotiation of NAFTA conducted by Environics Research on behalf of Unifor found that:

  •     Nearly nine out of ten said they support the Canadian government's demands to strengthen standards in labour law, the environment, human rights, gender equality and the advancement of Aboriginal rights;
  •     Eight out of ten Canadians would agree with the Canadian government to withdraw from negotiations if the US government denies Canadian demands for labour, the environment and social rights; and
  •     Eight out of ten people in Quebec would be disappointed if Canada went ahead with a new agreement that would not address social, labour and environmental issues.

"These results are important and must count in the balance while we are at the heart of negotiations," concluded the union leaders. Unifor participates in the various rounds of negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico as he has been invited by the Canadian government to participate in the process.