Senate Dems urge Guatemala to comply with labor regulations

Three Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on U.S. trade officials to resume litigation if Guatemala fails to effectively enforce its labor laws.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (Ore.) and Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTrump officials brief lawmakers on North Korea Blackwater founder calls for military contractors in Afghanistan Tillerson moves to eliminate special envoy posts at State Dept.: report MORE (Md.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell Brown'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (Ohio) said they the United States is at a "critical crossroads" for Guatemala to move forward on its labor law compliance as required by the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)."

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Guatemala needs to show that it has taken the steps outlined in the [labor] plan and that the reforms it is undertaking are making a difference for workers," the three senators said.

"If Guatemala misses the deadline, USTR [the U.S. Trade Representative] should move immediately to restart the litigation. Guatemala should receive no further extensions."

They argued that the Obama administration's decision to file the case in 2011 illustrated the seriousness of the situation in Guatemala.

"Time is running out," they said. "Guatemalan workers have waited far too long for positive change."

On Monday, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE announced that the United States has given Guatemala another four weeks to get its labor enforcement plan up to speed.  

“Effective implementation of the enforcement plan is critical if Guatemala is to demonstrate its capacity to make good on enforcement promises," the office said.

"Moreover, it is essential to give U.S. companies the confidence that they are doing business in a country that takes its labor rules seriously, and for Guatemala’s workers to be secure in knowing that the law will be followed."