Teamsters Leader Says It's Time to Bail out of a Bad Deal
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa praised today's announcement that a bipartisan bill to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
The bill is aimed at stimulating investment and employment in manufacturing, which has lost nearly a third of its workers since NAFTA was approved in 1993. The bill repeals the approval of NAFTA and instructs the President to notify Canada and Mexico of the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty.
"The lives of average workers in Mexico and in the U.S. have gotten so much worse since NAFTA," Hoffa said. "When you realize you've made a bad deal, you try to get out of it."
"We were sold a bill of goods about NAFTA," Hoffa said. "We were told it would create export jobs because they were dying to buy our refrigerators, they were dying to buy our cars. None of that happened. Instead we lost nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs. Our $1.7 billion trade surplus with Mexico in 1993 turned into a $64.7 billion deficit in 2008.
"Nobody ever said the idea of NAFTA was for American corporations to move out of America, go across the Rio Grande and build a factory, exploit the Mexican workers and then ship cars and refrigerators back here to sell," Hoffa said. "Now it's obvious to most people that that's what it was all about."
Hoffa thanked the bill's co-sponsors, Democratic Reps. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee of Michigan, Michael Arcuri of New York, Joe Baca and Bob Filner of California, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Mike Michaud of Maine and Peter Visclosky of Indiana; and Republican Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland.