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AFL-CIO backs Trump’s North American trade pact

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced Tuesday that the powerful labor confederation will support President Trump’s new North American trade deal, paving the way for likely passage in the Democratic-controlled House.

Trumka said in a statement that the AFL-CIO endorses Trump’s proposed revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after Democrats successfully negotiated for tougher labor standards.

“Make no mistake, we demanded a trade deal that benefits workers and fought every single day to negotiate that deal,” Trumka said, “and now we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support.”

His endorsement came moments before Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced a deal to pass the trade pact, dubbed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Democrats have worked closely with the AFL-CIO and other labor groups to secure stricter labor oversight provisions in talks with White House officials. The AFL-CIO’s rare endorsement of a trade deal clears the way for progressive Democrats to support the USMCA without fear of blowback from unions.

Trumka told The Washington Post on Monday that he was reviewing a tentative USMCA agreement with his executive committee, expressing optimism about labor-related changes. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will sign an updated version of the pact Tuesday in Mexico City with Mexican and Canadian officials.

“President Trump may have opened this deal. But working people closed it. And for that, we should be very proud,” Trumka said in Tuesday’s statement.

Tags Canada Donald Trump Mexico Nafta Nancy Pelosi Richard Neal Robert Lighthizer Trade deal USMCA

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