Unifor and UAW take shared NAFTA message to Minister Freeland

Toronto – Unifor and the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) took a united message on auto sector needs to a joint meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and lead NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul.

“We are united with the UAW in our demand to address the imbalances in the auto industry as NAFTA is renegotiated,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The plain fact is that the United States and Canada have equitable trade, Mexico does not and that must be dealt with immediately.”

Dias and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams met with Freeland and Verheul in Toronto today ahead of the next round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks, scheduled to take place in Mexico City, Mexico on September 1-5.

“The promise of the original NAFTA was to improve the living standard of Mexican workers, but instead it has produced a cheap workforce alternative and resulted in vast inequalities,” said Dias. “NAFTA renegotiations will only be successful if it leads to higher wages in all three countries, reverses the crippling trade deficits with Mexico, and create new manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and Canada.”

Both Dias and Williams expressed a united front for all workers, adding that our fight for fairness and a better NAFTA includes living wages for Mexican workers. Combined the two unions represent 245,000 workers in the North American auto assembly and parts supplier sector. Last month the UAW and Unifor issued a joint statement that can be read at unifor.org/NAFTA.

“This is not a profit issue, this is a moral issue as the exploitation of workers continues,” said United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams. “Mexican workers deserve better.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.