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ILWU condemns FTAA, supports protests in Quebec

These resolutions passed the International Executive Board of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
Longshoreman Anti-FTAA Resoultion

Statement of Policy on the Free Trade Area of the Americas

The free trade policies of NAFTA and the WTO have already wreaked their damage-exporting well-paying union industrial jobs from the First World and turning the Third World into one big maquiladora. The globalizing policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have already extended the harm of the free market to some of the farthest corners of the world. But instead of satisfying international capital's greed, it has only whetted its appetite for more.

On April 18-22, 2001 representatives from all 34 countries in North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean-excluding Cuba-will meet in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada to begin formally establishing new free trade policies among their nations, devising the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Their current plan is to use NAFTA as a template in rewriting trade rules for the Western Hemisphere. In so doing they will be extending those disastrous economic policies to Central and South America, and exacerbating them in North America.

Like NAFTA the FTAA will go beyond legitimate trade issues. It will regulate and override the democratically decided environmental, public health and food safety laws of sovereign nations. The process itself is so undemocratic that just months before the Quebec meeting the draft agreement the trade representatives will be ratifying is still secret.

Six years of NAFTA has shown it to be an unmitigated disaster. Nearly 400,000 U.S. jobs have been lost since NAFTA as companies relocated to Mexico. While Mexico has enjoyed dramatic industrial growth, average workers have seen a decline in their standard of living. While the border areas have seen intensified industrial activity, Mexican workers there often make less than the minimum wage of $3.40 per day. Under the FTAA exploited workers in Mexico could be leveraged against even more desperate workers in Haiti, Guatemala or Brazil by companies seeking tariff-free access back into U.S. markets.

NAFTA's labor and environmental side agreements have proven unenforceable. Because of NAFTA's failure and the widespread public opposition to the WTO, the ILWU calls on the trade officials in Quebec City to abandon these so-called free trade policies and instead turn to implementing fair trade policies that promote local economic development with livable wages and fair conditions for workers, environmentally sustainable production and intercultural understanding and peace among trade partners. The ILWU also supports the efforts to organize protests against the FTAA in Quebec next April and encourages its members who can attend to do so.


International Longshore and Warehouse Union
International Executive Board
San Francisco, California
December 12-13, 2000
 
 

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