AFL-CIO’s Trumka Says NAFTA’s Been ‘Devastating’ to Workers But Unions Will Probably Back Democrats Anyway


AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka appeared on Fox News Sunday on Labor Day weekend and spoke with host Chris Wallace about NAFTA and President Donald Trump‘s renegotiation with Mexico… and possible exclusion of Canada. Trumka had nothing good to say about NAFTA, but he wasn’t too thrilled with Trump either.

The first question Wallace brought up with Trumka was the possibility, made all the more stark this weekend with President Trump’s twitter tirade, of Canada being excluded from the new deal, or dealt with separately.

“Our economies are integrated. The three countries in North America, the economies are pretty integrated. And it’s pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal,” said Trumka. “You said that the Mexican deal is closed– there’s still a lot of work left to be done even on the Mexican deal, Chris, because of the language isn’t drafted, we haven’t seen whole chapters of the thing. We’re anxious to move forward with it and anxious to have all three countries involved.”

Trumka not only said he’s anxious to see America “move forward” with the deal, he bashed the prior incarnation of NAFTA, and those who upheld it.

“NAFTA has had a devastating effect on the working people of this country for the last 25 years,” he said. “So we’ve been aggressively pursuing an agreement that works for the workers in all three countries and I can say we’re not done yet.”

“So what we’re pushing right now, and we are working with [United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer] is, is a way to let us effectively monitor what’s going on on the ground and then enforce the agreement, regardless of who’s in the White House,” he said. “Because we’ve been told for over twenty-five years, ‘trust us, this greement will be good for workers.’ What we need is an agreement that we can enforce, no matter who’s in the White House.”

Wallace then cites some economic statistics to Trumka, including the low unemployment rate, the jobs created, and the fact that he has used tariffs to “break down trade barriers I know that you hate,” and asked Trumka how he would rate the President when it comes to workers.

With some hedging, Trumka offered that in his view, in balance, Trump has done more negative for workers than he has positive for workers.

When asked about the elections this November, Trumka said they judge each race and candidate on a case-by-case basis. “It’s not about Democrats or Republicans,” he said. “It’s about electing people that will support working people in this country.”

Even when Wallace framed the question as a choice to derail things like NAFTA renegotiation or trade deals, Trumka still said that it “probably will be Democrats” that the unions support in November.

“The reality is, Democrats support working people more than Republicans,” he said.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of Fox News.
[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: