U.S., Canadian Machinists are United on Trade

U.S., Canadian Machinists are United on Trade

The Machinists Union is raising strong concerns regarding the recently announced direction of the Administration’s trade policy.

“Criticizing Canada’s trade practices does not contribute to improving the lives of our members, who have been so devastated by a trade agenda that favors corporations over workers,” said IAM International President Bob Martinez. “The Administration should be focusing our efforts on stopping China from violating trade rules, not insulting our closest ally.” 

Canadian General Vice President Stan Pickthall echoed these objections.

“In the current environment, with the U.S. President alleging Canada to be a ‘national security threat,’ it is absolutely crucial that we stand together as union Sisters and Brothers across our borders and work together in solidarity. This is even more important where we have industries in common such as aerospace and defense.”

The IAM continues to strongly support efforts to stop China from forcing the transfer of technology and production through tariffs and multilateral actions at the World Trade Organization. The Machinists also continue to support tariffs on dumped steel and aluminum from China.

But Martinez says the IAM is 100 percent opposed to tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, or any action that would start a trade war with our friend and ally, Canada.

“Instead of targeting Canada, the Administration should also be focusing its energy on negotiating dramatic changes to NAFTA that will benefit all North American workers,” said Martinez. “Among many other provisions, negotiators must not settle for a labor provision that copies what was proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

The IAM is continuing its demand that a renegotiated NAFTA explicitly state that labor standards are defined by conventions adopted by the International Labor Organization, an agency under the United-Nations.

Canada’s proposal most closely reflects this demand. Moreover, Canadian negotiators have it right: so-called right-to-work laws in the U.S. are nothing more than cover for preventing workers to unionize. The IAM continues to urge U.S. negotiators to explicitly include ILO conventions in the proposed labor chapter.

The national security of the U.S. and Canada are dependent on each other. U.S. and Canadian procurement laws must recognize that products made by workers in both countries are essential for the safety and security of our two great nations. Recent legislative amendments regarding Buy American laws, which are supported by the IAM, would not change current waivers for national security, which can be relied on to procure goods from Canada. 

“The IAM also recognizes and supports the critical importance in maintaining the Canada- U.S. Defence Production Sharing Arrangement (DPSA) and the Defence Development Sharing Agreement (DDSA),” said Martinez. “These programs are further proof of our interdependent economic relationship, which is essential for U.S. and Canadian security.”

“It is vitally important that the Canada-U.S. DPSA be maintained to the benefit of workers in both countries,” said Pickthall. “We as the IAM will fight for this arrangement to be continued, and to treat our Canadian Sisters and Brothers equally in bidding this work.”

“Supply chains in manufacturing industries such as aerospace have developed a level of partnership that goes beyond our borders. We will all lose if we persist on this path, which could lead to job losses and a weakening of economic activity in both our countries,” said IAM Quebec Coordinator Dave Chartrand.  

“In these growing times of uncertainty, it more critical than ever that we adopt trade policies that bring the U.S. and Canada closer together—not rip us apart,” said Martinez. “We urge the Administration to refocus its efforts on curtailing China’s unfair trade practices and renegotiating NAFTA to include strong and enforceable labor standards explicitly reflected by ILO Conventions. Insulting our closest friend and ally is not in the best interest of U.S. and Canadian workers.”

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