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Reps. Pascrell and Levin Emphasize Labor Reform in Mexico Central to NAFTA Rewrite

U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09), the Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, and Sandy Levin (D-MI-09), a senior Member of that Subcommittee, today released the following joint statement in response to Mexican Labor Minister Roberto Campa reportedly downplaying Mexican labor issues in concluding a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

“Labor rights in Mexico is not an issue that can be sidestepped. It is the central issue that must be addressed in any rewrite of NAFTA. Failure by Mexico to stop suppressing its workers’ wages will not only be an obstacle for a new NAFTA, it will be a death knell for any deal passing Congress.

“Suppressed wages in Mexico, driven by a lack of independent unions and an inability for workers to collectively bargain, has hurt American workers and led to the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico.”

There is a pending complaint from labor organizations in both the U.S. and Mexico alleging that Mexico is falling far short in complying with basic labor rights. The complaint shows that Mexico’s proposed labor law amendments to implement constitutional reforms will violate even existing pacts on labor rights.

Over 180 Members of Congress, led by Representatives Pascrell, Levin, and DeLauro sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative in January saying that ‘any new NAFTA must have strong, clear and binding provisions that address Mexico’s labor conditions.’

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