CLEVELAND (June 5, 2017) – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown today joined a diverse group of labor, environmental justice and civic activists at a forum to discuss how we can transform trade policy to lift up workers and communities, while protecting the environment. The forum was held at the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 979 hall and featured a panel of labor and environmental leaders focused on making sure that if the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is renegotiated that the deal would be a fair one for America’s workers and the environment.
“We know exactly what causes outsourcing: low wages, exploited workers and weak, or non-existent, environmental protections in other countries,” said Brown, who has put forward a Four-Point Plan for renegotiating NAFTA. “That’s why the very first point in my plan calls for us to secure strong anti-outsourcing provisions up front—before we even sit down at the negotiating table. American jobs shouldn’t be up for negotiation. We should not move forward with any agreement until Mexico agrees to enforce strict worker and environmental protections. By setting high standards, putting workers ahead of corporations and refusing to compromise on outsourcing, we can create the best possible deal for Ohio workers.”
At the event, Sen. Brown and the panelists answered questions from the moderator and offered their perspective on how America can achieve fair trade deals now and in the future.
“If NAFTA can’t be eliminated and will instead be renegotiated, it should be called the North American FAIR Trade Agreement and implemented as such,” said USW Local 979 President Dan Boone.
“Americans, Ohioans, and working people everywhere need a fair trade deal that puts workers and the environment first and doesn’t put corporate interests above our health, our rights, and our safety,” said Amy Hanauer, the moderator of the event and founding executive director of Policy Matters Ohio.
In May, the Trump administration sent notice to Congress that it intended to renegotiate NAFTA and trade has been a particularly important issue for Ohioans.
“We know that it is possible to have trade agreements that don’t engage the U.S. in a race to the bottom, but instead lift up our own workers and workers throughout the world,” said BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas. “We applaud Senator Brown’s work on this issue that is so vital to the future of Ohio’s economy and workers.”