MEXICO CITY—On the heels of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s visit to Mexico City to discuss NAFTA renegotiations with politicians and business leaders, civil society groups are holding their own parallel talks in the city May 26 to 28.
“The NAFTA era has been characterized by growing job insecurity and precarious work; a dramatic increase in income and wealth inequality; wage stagnation and the hollowing out of the middle class,” says Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) research associate Bruce Campbell, who is taking part in the Mexico City discussions, and spoke at an opening panel event Friday.
“The erosion of workers’ bargaining power has boosted capital’s share of national income and reduced labour’s share to new lows in all three countries. It is high time for a new, more inclusive model of economic integration that shares the benefits of increased trade more equitably,” he adds.
The tri-national civil society dialogue will focus on alternatives to the current NAFTA framework that would more fairly—and in a more environmentally sustainable way—distribute the benefits of trade for workers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
“There are many ways to revamp or replace NAFTA to make it a better deal for workers in all three countries,” says Scott Sinclair, CCPA senior researcher and Director of the Centre’s Trade and Investment Research Project. “An obvious first step is to develop strong, fully enforceable labour standards.”
“But if, as now looks increasingly likely, the Trump administration turns out to be more interested in new rights for U.S. corporations than in the plight of North American workers, then civil society and unions will need to get organized. The meeting in Mexico City is a promising first step.”
Participating organization from Canada and Québec include:
- Association pour la Taxation des Transactions pour l'Aide aux Citoyens (ATTAC-Québec)
- BC Teachers' Federation
- Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
- Canadian Labour Congress
- Canadian Union of Public Employees,
- Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO)
- Common Frontiers
- Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
- Council of Canadians
- Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ)
- Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN)
- Justicia for Migrant Workers
- National Farmers' Union
- Office of Romeo Saganash, Member of Parliament
- Public Service Alliance of Canada
- Réseau québécois sur l'intégration continentale (RQIC)
- Trade Justice Network
- United Steelworkers of Canada
For interviews and more information, please contact Alyssa O’Dell, CCPA Media and Public Relations Officer, at 613-563-1341 x307, cell 343-998-7575 or [email protected].