Over the course of a week, trade issues around softwood, NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership flared up in Canada, with Unifor taking a leading role in standing up for the rights of working people, good jobs and communities.
“We have a unique opportunity to radically reshape our global trading system, for the betterment of working people, but the goal here should be fairness for workers not punishment,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The U.S. slapped countervailing duties of about 20 per cent on Canada’s softwood lumber, putting up to 25,000 jobs at risk. Days later, U.S. President Donald Trump said he wants to renegotiate NAFTA, with a possible U.S. withdrawal from the trade pact if he’s not happy with the talks.
A week later, it was revealed that Canada was hosting closed meetings at a secret Toronto location with other Pacific Rim countries to revive the TPP without the U.S., as Trump pulled out of the TPP shortly after becoming president.
“TPP was a bad deal then, and it’s a bad deal now,” said Dias. “We were told we had to be in the TPP because the U.S. was in it. Now, the U.S. is out. Why would we revive a trade deal that was so bad for Canadian workers and communities?”
Amid all this, Unifor trade activists from across Canada met to plan the union’s ambitious new trade campaign, to be formally launched at Canadian Council in August. For more information on Unifor’s trade campaign, go to unifor.org/fairtradefuture.