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Unifor lays down priorities for CUSMA review

Unifor | 30 May 2024

Unifor lays down priorities for CUSMA review

OTTAWA— Unifor laid down the union’s priorities for the 2026 review of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) in testimony today by Unifor National President Lana Payne to MPs on the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade.

“U.S. officials aren’t mincing words when they tell us not to get ‘too comfortable’ ahead of these talks,” warned Payne. “Long-standing U.S. complaints, whether on Canada’s supply managed dairy or digital trade, are on the radar. The USTR has already held consultations on CUSMA auto trade. Canada cannot approach this review on its back foot.”

Payne told MPs that Canada cannot shy away from communicating concerns and should use the scheduled six-year review of CUSMA as an opportunity to address the obvious gaps in the trinational agreement.

Top concerns for the union on behalf of workers include the long-standing softwood lumber dispute, the monitoring of aluminum imports, the need for the U.S. to raise its WTO tariff on light duty vehicles and the ability of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to react to the threat of Chinese EV imports, subsidized through forced labour, excessive subsidies, tech theft and other means.

Payne called for the expansion of the use of CUSMA’s Rapid Response Mechanism, which has been used to force action to clean up Mexico’s corrupt labour system, to workplaces in Canada and the U.S., pointing out the use of threats and intimidation toward workers, and reported firings, during a recent organizing drive at a Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama.

Payne said the allegations against Mercedes in the U.S. are reminiscent of rights violations seen at Mexico facilities, and are contrary to a progressive, worker-oriented, fair-trade agenda.

The union also pointed out the need to increase in the labour value content rules and update the list of core auto parts to consider new EV technologies, both necessary changes to reflect changes in the marketplace since CUSMA’s implementation in 2020.

Read Lana Payne’s remarks here. Watch video of the testimony here.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 320,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Director Kathleen O’Keefe at or by cell at (416) 896-3303.

 source: Unifor