I am writing to you today with important news that reflects the stature and strength of our union. The voice of Unifor is well-respected and it is an important one that continues to help shape both political dialogue and government action in Canada and on an international scale. I know this, because today I held a private meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in Washington.
On behalf of Unifor members I relayed concerns about the current state of affairs with bilateral trade relations between Canada and the United States. This meeting was timely as trade tensions continue to escalate.
I delivered a message of urgency to Mr. Ross. With the recent re-introduction of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports that will endanger upwards of 25,000 good jobs in nearly every region of the country, action is needed right now. I urged Mr. Ross to help play a role to ensure a fair trade pact is settled On NAFTA renegotiation, I made clear that any resulting deterioration of jobs and work standards – for all workers across the continent – will not be tolerated. I also spoke to Mr. Ross about the challenges facing the highly-integrated auto industry, and the need for greater balance within North American, and with the rest of the world.
Despite some of the current challenges before us, there is an opportunity to fix the imbalances in trade relations with the renegotiation of NAFTA, and today I sent an important message to an arm of the U.S. government to do just that.
In the days and weeks ahead our union will continue to push for a fair trade future. I will continue to take the voices and needs of Unifor members and all Canadian workers to decision-makers in both Canada and the U.S with one message – better trade deals must begin with putting workers and communities first.
There is much work to do, but I am confident that together our union can continue to lead the way and make a difference for workers.