While AFL-CIO goes all in for USMCA, UAW worries it won't help its members

USMCA won't fix NAFTA's problems, the autoworkers union president said

United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble issued a pessimistic statement about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that stands in stark contrast to the AFL-CIO's endorsement of the trade deal that's poised to pass the House of Representatives on Thursday.

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"[USMCA] is not a 'fix' for the many problems created by [the North American Free Trade Agreement] and other misguided tax and labor policies that have flourished for decades in our nation's capital and statehouses throughout the country," Gamble said in the statement. "Hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs that have gone to Mexico since NAFTA came into being 25 years ago will not return because of USMCA."

AFL-CIO ENDORSES USMCA AS 'VAST IMPROVEMENT' OVER NAFTA

United Auto Workers (UAW) had complained about a lack of access to a final text of the agreement, while AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka gave a ringing endorsement of the agreement and got a shoutout from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for his role in reshaping the text.

Trumka praised the deal for creating "enforceable labor standards" and eliminating "carve outs for corporations like the giveaway to Big Pharma in the administration's initial proposal."

Rory Gamble, acting head of the United Auto Workers union, answers questions in Southfield, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Meanwhile, the UAW is still worried about auto jobs moving to Mexico where labor is cheaper. Many autoworkers expressed that fear when picketing General Motors in the fall.

"It will be difficult to ensure Mexico’s government fully implement its labor law reforms. ... They are also fond of saying it requires autoworkers to have a minimum salary of $16 an hour," Gamble said.

"In fact, is an average and not a floor and companies' intent on keeping business as usual will go through great lengths to keep wages down and jobs in Mexico," he said. "It is not comforting that so many companies that have moved production to Mexico and plan major investments have embraced the auto rule of origin standard."

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USMCA is expected to create around 176,000 new jobs and inject $34 billion into the U.S. auto industry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo, citing International Trade Commission data. He added that as many as 589,000 new jobs could be created within five years.

The UAW didn't seem sold by those numbers, saying ITC data indicates the creation of just 51,000 new jobs in manufacturing, mining and farming over the next six years.

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