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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Machinists Call for Crackdown on Forced Technology Transfers

The Machinists Union this week continued its push for  fair trade policies.

In testimony before the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the IAM again sounded the alarm on unfair trade practices that cost North American jobs, like the forced transfer of technology by countries like China.

 “Over the years, China has relied on transfers of production and technology from western companies to develop its aerospace industry,” said Owen Herrnstadt, IAM Chief of Staff to the International President and Director of Trade and Globalization. “It has successfully pitted western competitors against each other for market share in China’s growing aviation market.”

 The practice has resulted in  thousands of skilled North American jobs being lost, said Herrnstadt. Additional jobs could be lost in the future as China utilizes transfers to create and strengthen its own aerospace companies to compete directly with U.S. companies.

 In response, the IAM is recommending the administration file a complaint with the World Trade Organization and move quickly to place tariffs on Chinese aerospace parts, components and subassemblies that cost U.S. jobs. In addition, the IAM is urging USTR to request that U.S. companies reveal the parts, components and subassemblies that they have transferred directly or indirectly through their global supply chains, in connection to China’s overt and subtle demands for forced transfers.

 The goal, Herrnstadt told USTR, is for aerospace companies “to compete on the quality and price of their goods, not on who can give away more technology and production to China.”

 READ: Eliminating the forced transfer of technology and production to China is critical

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Tell your representative: Commit to vote no on NAFTA corporate power grab!

If you live in North America, we need you to make sure your government representative stops a corporate power grab in the new NAFTA renegotiations.

NAFTA gave vast new powers for corporations that make it easier to offshore jobs and attack the environmental and health laws on which we all rely.

Deals like NAFTA give multinational corporations the power to sue governments in front of a tribunal of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order taxpayers to pay the corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits.

The multinational corporations only need to convince the lawyers that a law protecting public health, digital rights or the environment violates their special NAFTA rights. The corporate lawyers’ decisions are not subject to appeal.

This corporate power grab is formally called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

END ISDS: Add your name to demand that any North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation removes the corporate power grab known as ISDS .

If You Live In the U.S., Canada or Mexico: 
Add your name to tell your government representative (in the U.S., your member of Congress) to commit to oppose any North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation or any other agreement that includes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

For more information, please visit www.isdscorporateattacks.org .

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