AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Members of Congress, and Activists Say No Vote Until NAFTA 2.0 is Fixed

Petitions Demand Pharma Monopoly Protections That Lock in High Drug Prices Out, Stronger Labor and Environmental Terms and Enforcement Added to Stop Outsourcing

Today, unions and consumer, environmental, faith and other organizations launched a “No Vote Until NAFTA 2.0 Is Fixed” day of action with an event in front of the U.S. Capitol headlined by members of Congress, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – fresh off a Midwest NAFTA rally tour – and civil society leaders. Activists delivered petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of Americans nationwide.

The NAFTA 2.0 deal that President Donald Trump signed last year would not stop ongoing NAFTA outsourcing of jobs and pollution and would lock in high drug prices at home and abroad. House Democratic leaders have made clear that the prospect for a vote on a revised NAFTA relies on whether the Trump administration removes from the text new monopoly protections for pharmaceutical corporations and adds strong labor and environmental standards and enforcement to counter outsourcing. The U.S. government has certified almost one million American jobs lost to NAFTA with more jobs outsourced to Mexico weekly.

The last four U.S. free trade pacts that were approved had to be altered after signing to obtain congressional majorities.

That congressional Democrats, unions and others who have opposed past pacts are seeking to correct core flaws of the 2018 text rather than defeat the deal reveals that there is a path to build broad support. However, Trump could derail that prospect by prematurely pushing for a vote before the agreement’s text is fixed, refusing to make the needed changes or by continuing to threaten to upend discussions about improving NAFTA 2.0 and/or any resulting deal with anti-immigrant tariffs against Mexico.

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch organized with more than 40 organizations whose members signed more than 300,000 petitions.

Photos and video of the event available here.

Statements from Participating Organizations:

“Last week, workers in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland and Detroit told me to bring back a message to D.C. that the new NAFTA is not good enough. People are hurting and searching for answers. They refuse to support another trade agreement that doesn’t account for their needs. Working people are ready to turn the page on NAFTA and end the era of outsourcing. It is time for negotiators to go back to the table and hammer out an agreement that is good for working people.”

  • Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO

“Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 does not get the job done to stop NAFTA’s damage, and the agreement still includes provisions that would make NAFTA worse by locking in high drug prices. There should be no vote in Congress before these issues are resolved. The workers’ rights provisions in this agreement can’t be enforced, so this agreement must be revised to make a serious effort to end the race to the bottom in wages and standards.”

  • Chris Shelton, president of Communications Workers of America

“Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and older Americans are bearing the brunt of it. Despite this, the Trump administration is pressuring Congress to approve a trade agreement that locks in high prices for some of the most effective medicines available. The proposed USMCA trade deal will protect pharmaceutical corporation monopolies and profits while putting life-saving medicines out of reach for many patients who need them. Our retiree members are sending a clear message to Congress: Do not pass this trade deal until the prescription drug provisions are fixed.”

  • Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans

“Supporting efforts that would push a vote on NAFTA 2.0 to the floor of the House before its giveaways to big pharma are stopped and enforcement mechanisms for workers’ rights, wages and environmental protections are nailed down is beyond stupid. Donald Trump can’t be trusted to tell the truth about crowd sizes at his inauguration, so there’s no reason he or his administration should be trusted to deliver a just, equitable and enforceable renegotiation of NAFTA without ironclad trade deal text.”

  •  Charles Chamberlain, chair of Democracy for America

“A revised NAFTA can get through Congress only if key fixes are made, because the NAFTA 2.0 signed last year won’t stop NAFTA’s ongoing race to the bottom in wages or job outsourcing, but it would lock in high U.S. medicine prices and export our unaffordable-drug policies to Canada and Mexico. That opponents of past trade pacts are seeking to fix NAFTA 2.0 rather than kill it shows that there is a path to passage, but expect an ugly wreck if the White House pushes for a quick vote on the deal as-is.”

  • Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

“Trump’s NAFTA 2.0 is a bad deal for all of us, especially seniors. It would protect giant pharmaceutical corporations, allowing them to continue to charge outrageous prices for years to come.”

  • Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works

“Working families who have been suffering under NAFTA deserve more than a rebrand. The Trump administration’s proposed NAFTA revision fails to make the critical changes needed to stop outsourcing, raise wages, defend worker rights and safeguard the environment, but it does include new giveaways for big pharmaceutical companies that would lock in high medicine prices. Congress is right to call out this charade and to demand a real NAFTA replacement.”

  • Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign

“Congress must not vote on NAFTA 2.0 as it is currently written. This new deal would weaken our food safety standards, undermine many U.S. farmers raising crops like tomatoes and strawberries, and promote unsustainable fossil fuels.”

  • Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch

“They can call it what they want, but this new NAFTA is not ready for prime time. Get back to us when you are serious about protecting workers and the environment.”

  • Ted Lewis, co-director Global Exchange

“In today’s climate, the last thing we should be doing is providing more giveaways to big pharma. The administrations proposed revisions to NAFTA not only will keep drug prices high, it will permit Big Pharma to exploit loopholes and extend their patents for generations to come.”

  • Lauren L. Deluca, executive director of Chronic Illness Advocacy & Awareness Group

“The Trump administration’s willingness to do Big Pharma’s bidding at home and abroad has almost no limits. Rather than seeking to reduce monopoly pricing on medicines domestically, Trump is using NAFTA 2.0 intellectual property provisions to lock in patent term extensions, 10-year monopolies on biologic data and mandatory patents on new uses of known medicines. Multiple other provisions will chill health-related regulatory practices and efforts to control prices through formulary decisions. These same provisions would adversely impact patients and payers in Mexico and Canada and become the next stepping stone for even greater monopoly protections in future trade agreements. The retrograde IP and regulatory proposals in NAFTA 2.0 should go back to the drawing table.”

  • Professor Brook K. Baker, senior policy analyst of Health GAP (Global Access Project)

“No vote for pharma monopoly protection and outsourcing jobs! NAFTA dismantled the U.S. middle class, taking jobs to Mexico where workers are exploited. If critical changes are not made, NAFTA 2.0 will continue the outsourcing of jobs and the environmental degradation – and it will establish new pharmaceutical monopolies to keep drug prices high. Corporate profits and pharma domination will go beyond limits with NAFTA 2.0. We say NO to Big Pharma monopolies and YES to labor and environmental standards and their enforcement.”

  • Martha Ojeda, senior national field organizer of Interfaith Worker Justice

“In the wake of the drug companies’ opioid addiction scandal, there’s strong bipartisan public awareness that the drug companies are out of control and need to be reined in. The last thing our trade and investment policy should be doing now is protecting the drug companies from the public interest instead of protecting the public interest from the drug companies.”

  • Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy

“This is a bad deal for working families. Big corporations are toasting this deal because it protects their profits above all else by letting them continue to pollute our environment, abuse workers, outsource jobs and form bigger monopolies. Congress should stand with working families and fix these issues before any vote.”

  • Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee

“Donald Trump’s rush to push NAFTA 2.0 is a shameful attempt to score cheap political points at the expense of workers, the climate, and families in the U.S. and across North America. Leading members of Congress are listening to the American people and have already made it clear that they will not vote on a deal that outsources pollution and jobs, gives handouts to corporate polluters and fuels the climate crisis.”

  • Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club

Organizations Participating in the No Vote Until NAFTA 2.0 Is Fixed Day of Action Include:

AFL-CIO

AFSCME

Alliance for Democracy

American Family Voices

American Federation of Teachers

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Chronic Illness Advocacy & Awareness Group

Citizens Trade Campaign

Communications Workers of America (CWA)

Corporate Accountability

CREDO Action

Daily Kos

Demand Progress

Democracy for America

Fair World Project

Food & Water Watch Action

Franciscan Action Network

Friends of the Earth Action

Global Exchange

Good Jobs Nation

Green America

Health Care for America Now

Health GAP (Global Access Project)

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Interfaith Workers justice

Just Foreign Policy

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Open Media

Our Revolution

People Demanding Action

People’s Action

Presbyterian Church USA

Prescription Justice

Progress America

Progressive Caucus Action Fund

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Progressive Democrats of America

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

ReplaceNAFTA

RootsAction.org

Sierra Club

Social security Works

The Alliance for Retired Americans

The Other 98%

The Zero Hour