Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

AFL-CIO labor federation against expanding trade with Korea


MARCH 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

AFL-CIO labor federation against expanding trade with Korea


REGION, March 1st- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC. opposes the United States - Korea Free Trade Agreement.

According to the AFL-CIO, last year South Korean manufacturers exported nearly 500,000 motor vehicles to the United States while our manufacturers exported only about 6,000 vehicles to Korea. Autos and auto parts accounted for $7.9 billion, or 75 percent, of our $10.6 billion trade deficit with South Korea. Yet the United States Trade Representative (USTR) rejected proposals to rectify this imbalance in the trade negotiations.

The AFL-CIO supports the proposals of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union, which would safeguard and promote the long-term viability of the United States auto industry.

The AFL-CIO stated even if the fixes the issues related to the auto sector, it won’t be enough. There have been cases where free trade agreements have led to higher trade deficits and job loss. For example, it is estimated that since its passage in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has cost the United States more than a million jobs, allowed violations of core labor standards to continue and resulted in numerous challenges to laws and regulations designed to protect the public interest.

There are also serious concerns about workers’ rights in South Korea, where numerous laws fall far short of the core international labor standards. Millions of workers are hired on fixed-term contracts or through subcontracts, which makes it more difficult for workers to exercise their basic rights.

The AFL-CIO stated as a result, many workers have no way to fight back against low pay and a lack of job security. In some cases, police have used overwhelming force to break strikes. Courts frequently have imposed massive fines on workers who “obstructed the business” of their employer through collective action.

The labor federaion believes a better trade strategy begins with good domestic policy choices. What’s needed is continued and substantial public investments in education, lifelong workforce training in infrastructure and in research and development and to provide high-quality public services.

No comments so far

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>


(required but not displayed)