The IAM is raising strong concerns regarding the recently announced direction of the Trump Administration’s trade policy. “Criticizing Canada’s trade practices does not contribute to improving the lives of our members, which 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”. IAM General Vice-President Stan Pickthall echoed these objections: “In the current environment where the US President is alleging Canada to be a “National Security Threat”, it is absolutely crucial that we stand together as Union sisters and brothers across our border 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 WTO. We also continue to support tariffs on dumped steel and aluminum from China. Make no mistake; however, “the IAM is absolutely opposed to placing tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum and to starting a trade war with our friend and ally, Canada”, said Martinez.
Instead of targeting Canada, the Administration should also be focusing its energy on negotiating dramatic changes to NAFTA that will benefit all workers in North America. Among many other provisions, negotiators must not settle for a labor provision that copies what was proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). That is why we demand that a renegotiated NAFTA explicitly state that labor standards are defined by the 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: 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)” stated 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. Defence Production Sharing Arrangement (DPSA) be maintained to the benefit of workers in both countries. 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,” said Pickthall. “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’s more critical than ever that we adopt trade policies that bring the U.S. and Canada closer together—not rip us apart. 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,” concluded Martinez.