Update: Trade unions demand ‘respectful’ agreement from NAFTA trade talks
Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, will be among those giving speeches
As renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continues, members of the Unifor union demonstrated Saturday in Montreal to demand “respectful” international agreements, in particular with regard to workers’ rights.
Unifor president Jerry Dias and Renaud Gagné, Quebec director of the union, spoke at the demonstration near the American consulate.
“We’re asking the Canadian government to stand firm in both the renegotiation of NAFTA and other trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Labour, environmental and social rights should not be sacrificed in favour of purely financial interests,” Gagné said in a statement on Saturday.
In an interview with Presse canadienne, Gagné noted that thousands of jobs are at stake in the talks, which will resume in Montreal in late January.
Gagné said it is better not to enter into a new free trade agreement with Mexico and the United States if it does not meet Canadian concerns.
Unifor has more than 315,000 members in Canada, including 52,000 in Quebec.
Unifor donates $500,000 to Hurricane Irma aid
Unifor, through the Union’s Social Justice Fund, has donated $500,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for Hurricane Irma aid in the Caribbean.
“This donation by Unifor will reach the most vulnerable people in the Caribbean to help provide desperately needed relief efforts and supplies, which may include items such as shelter, food, and clean water,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Millions of people were left devastated by Hurricane Irma. Unifor’s donation will provide direct assistance and emergency relief where it is needed most, in the hardest hit Caribbean countries.