Sending Office: Levin, Sander M.
Current Cosigners: Reps. Beatty, Blumenauer, Chu, Cicilline, D. Davis, DeFazio, Demings, Deutch, Dingell, E.B. Johnson, Ellison, Espaillat, G. Green, Garamendi, Grijalva, Higgins, Holmes Norton, Jackson Lee, Kaptur, Kildee,
Larson, Lewis (GA), Linda Sanchez, Lipinski, Lowenthal, M. Thompson, McCollum, McGovern, Nadler, Napolitano, Nolan, Pallone, Jr., Pocan, R. Brady, Ruppersberger, S. Davis, S. Maloney, Schakowsky, Sewell, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Smith (WA), Suozzi, T. Ryan,
Tonko, Watson Coleman, Yarmuth.
Please join us in sending a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (USTR) regarding the importance of addressing low wages and labor policies in Mexico in the negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This letter
highlights Mexico’s suppressed wages and lack of labor rights as the primary driver of outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs under NAFTA.
We are asking USTR Lighthizer to require real and identifiable progress on Mexican labor reforms before Congress votes on a renegotiated NAFTA. This will both help Mexican workers climb out of poverty and protect American jobs and wages from a race to the
Please see the attached letter to USTR and contact Elaina Houser (Elaina.Houser@mail.house.gov) with Rep. Pascrell, Jeffrey Rapp (Jeffrey.Rapp@mail.house.gov)
with Rep. Levin, or Brandon Honore (Brandon.Honore@mail.house.gov) with Rep. DeLauro to sign on or for additional information. The deadline to sign on is January 12th.
Bill Pascrell, Jr. Sander M. Levin Rosa L. DeLauro
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Trade Member of Congress Member of Congress
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20508
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
We are concerned with the current negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), specifically with respect to Mexico’s labor policies. The suppression of wages and lack of labor rights continue to result in the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing
jobs and low wage growth.
Mexico’s policy of suppressed low wages, combined with increased protection of investment, became a magnet for its industrial growth. A key factor has been the maintenance of very low labor costs, ingrained in a structure that eliminates any voices to workers
in the workplace. The current objectives in the NAFTA renegotiation, and recent Administration statements do not do nearly enough to address this basic structural problem.
Even after Mexico’s constitutional reforms this past year, we have yet to see meaningful progress on the ground or have confidence in their impact. The authoritarian style labor structure, stacked labor boards and government aligned unions combine to limit
the ability of workers to seek wage increases. Low wages, a lack of unions and an inability for workers to collectively bargain in Mexico have hurt American workers and led to the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico. Increasing labor rights in Mexico will help
workers there climb out of poverty, and also protect American jobs and wages from a race to the bottom.
The text USTR has currently proposed must therefore only be a starting point in our negotiations with Mexico. Any new NAFTA must have strong, clear and binding provisions that address Mexico’s labor conditions. Given the ingrained resistance to labor rights
in Mexico, we must demand real and identifiable progress on labor reforms take place before Congress votes on a renegotiated NAFTA.
While many of us have ongoing concerns over additional provisions of NAFTA affecting labor, we felt it was important to highlight with a unified voice the primary source of significant outsourcing: Mexico’s low wages and lack of labor rights. Trade agreements
must ensure that as trade and competition grows, they work to harmonize wages and rights upwards for American workers and workers in other nations. Functioning core labor standards promote expanding markets benefiting workers in both countries. We urge you
to keep your promises to America’s workers and remedy the faults of the original NAFTA by holding Mexico accountable for its labor practices and negotiate strong protections in any agreement.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0