UE Demands Enforceable Labor Standards in NAFTA

August 21, 2018

UE sent a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on August 17, demanding strong labor standards that can actually be enforced in any renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement. UE signed the letter, together with more than 30 other organizations, based on our experience filing complaints through the inadequate system available under the current trade deal.

The letter calls for any newly negotiated treaty to uphold the basic standards of the International Labor Organization, including equal pay for men and women, prevention of and compensation for occupational injuries and illnesses, and protections for migrant workers. It also appeals for a timely and transparent dispute resolution process, and an end to vague language that allows employers to skirt their responsibilities when found liable in complaints brought against them.

Reports indicate that some progress may have been made during NAFTA negotiations to improve wage standards for workers, but no reliable sources have provided evidence of agreement on the principles outlined in the letter. UE will continue to watch NAFTA negotiations with skepticism.