Labor unions, including the United Auto Workers (UAW), have expressed support for President Donald Trump’s plan to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in a letter to the U.S. Trade Office.
The UAW was one of 557 groups or individuals who had filed public comments by close of business Monday, the deadline set by the U.S. Trade Office for public comment.
“Since NAFTA, our trade surplus with Mexico has vanished and hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs have been lost. Most of these job losses have been in manufacturing,” UAW Legislative Director Josh Nassar said in a letter submitted to the trade representative June 6, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Trump’s message of “America first” was critical in his 2016 election victory. His message on jobs, trade and the economy resonated in battleground states that turned red for the first time in decades. Trump was able to take in a good number of rank and file union members who usually vote Democratic, even though many union leaders threw support behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton still beat Trump by eight points among union households, but that number is 10 points lower than the union household support Obama received over Romney in 2012, according to a Fox News exit poll.
The Trump administration announced in May plans to renegotiate NAFTA. Labor groups have shown interest in the plan, excoriating the Clinton-era deal as adversely affecting the American worker.
The head of the UAW, Dennis Williams announced his willingness to work with the administration on re-hauling NAFTA soon after Trump’s victory.
The U.S. Trade Representative said that it would, “continue consultations with Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.”
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