Demand Workers are Heard in NAFTA Renegotiations

Chris Stergalas

Chris Stergalas Senior Online Organizer, Working America

Right now, there’s a lot of talk among politicians and the media about the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA for short. We need you to join with working people to urge our elected leaders to have our backs this time by demanding an open, transparent debate. The importance of trade deals to good jobs and fair wages can’t be stressed enough — and we need to know what’s being discussed.

Working people didn’t have a seat at the table the first time NAFTA was signed (nearly 25 years ago). They didn’t even think of us. As a result, workplaces across the United States shuttered while NAFTA failed to hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights in Mexico. That’s why Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, and longtime fair trade champion Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), are circulating a letter to their colleagues in the House asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to ensure the negotiation process remains open and transparent.

The NAFTA renegotiation conversation affects working people and our communities too much for us to be left out of the process. We don’t want a “modernized” version of the agreement, we need a new and different trade agreement that puts working people first. We need an agreement with Canada and Mexico that promotes more jobs with better wages you can sustain a family on, and benefits and safety standards on the job in all three countries. Working people must have guaranteed protection from discrimination and abuse across the three countries and we must better preserve our freedom to negotiate.

It’s going to take so much more than talk to make good on the promise of prosperity for working families. That’s why it’s important that our representatives begin to hear from us on this. They were elected by us to represent our interests. Let’s make sure they hear from us now and throughout this process.