More Than 1,000 U.S. Civil Society Groups Demand That a People-Centered Agreement Come out of the NAFTA Talks

Civil society groups — us, and those in relationship with us — across the U.S.A. that have a shared vision for a replaced NAFTA and a list of demands regarding the nature of the agreement have released their letter to the U.S. government. There are more than 1,000 groups on the letter, and it’s a strong list — impressive collective power.

The letter is being used on Capitol Hill and in district offices all across the country.

The press release on this letter can be found here:

The letter itself can be found here:


More than 70 Oregon organizations are among the signers — a list we’re grateful for and proud of and present here:

350 Salem OR



Alliance for Democracy Portland

Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers (AWPPW)

AWPPW Oregon-Idaho-Virginia Area Council

BCTGM Local 114

BCTGM Local 364

BerniePDX / Our Revolution Portland

Carpenters Industrial Council Local 2851

Carpenters Local 1503

Citizens for Peace & Justice, Medford

Climate Action Coalition

Climate Jobs PDX

Communities and Postal Workers United

Community Alliance of Lane County

Cultivate Oregon

Economic Justice Action Group of 1st Unitarian Church

Eugene Interfaith Earthkeepers

Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network JwJ

Friends of Family Farmers

Health Care for All Oregon – Action

IBEW Local 48

independents for Progressive Action (iPA)

International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines – ICHRP-PNW

Joint Council of Teamsters No.37

Jubilee Oregon

Machinists Willamette Lodge 63

Move to Amend – Portland (OR)

Multnomah Grange #71

Northwest Oregon Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Oregon AFL-CIO

Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans

Oregon Carpenters Industrial Council

Oregon Fair Trade Campaign

Oregon Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice

Oregon PeaceWorks

Oregon Progressive Party

Oregon Rural Action

Oregon Working Families Party

Oregonians for Safe Farms and Families (OSFF)

Our Revolution Central Willamette

Our Revolution Corvallis Allies

Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters

Parents Across America Oregon

Peace House, Ashland, OR

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste

Port Orford Ocean Resource Team

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee

Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP)

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance

Portland Jobs With Justice

Portland Raging Grannies

Portland Rising Tide

Powdermilk Equipment & Supply Team

Recycle Runway

Rogue Climate

SAJES Sustainability and Justice Emerging Series

SEIU Local 503

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now

Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice

Springfield Roughnecks

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network

The Main Street Alliance of Oregon

USW Local 1097

USW Local 330

USW Local 6163

USW Local 7150

USW Local 8378

Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project

WILPF, Portland, Oregon Branch

Posted in ISDS, NAFTA | Comments Off on More Than 1,000 U.S. Civil Society Groups Demand That a People-Centered Agreement Come out of the NAFTA Talks

Cooke Aquaculture an ISDS-Enabled Threat to People and Planet

Lookout, Oregon. This story delves in something unacceptable faced by our state neighbors to the north. It could happen here, and it’s bad enough that it happens anywhere.  #EndISDS

ISDS, Investor-State Dispute Settlement, is being used dangerously in Washington state right now. Cooke Aquaculture, a Canadian company, ruined a Puget Sound fishery ecosystem and it got the attention of the state legislature, to point where Washington State is very close to banning the farming of Atlantic salmon in WA state waters. Cooke Aquaculture has publicly and explicitly threatened that if the proposal becomes law, they will undermine it with an ISDS suit under NAFTA.

Yes indeed, this trade-agreement-originated international legal arrangement is for corporations to be able to put a thumb on the scale. Instead, trade policy should be able to lift up and prioritize needs of ecosystems, indigenous communities, and the health and vibrancy of local economies.


Posted in ISDS, NAFTA | Comments Off on Cooke Aquaculture an ISDS-Enabled Threat to People and Planet

Trump’s promises for fairer trade distinctly unfulfilled, to this point

Trump Trade has meant so far a lot of uncertainty and tremendous talk of change, with nothing meaningful changing yet, and trade deficits climbing rather than subsiding.

In the State of the Union a week ago, Trump said the United States had “finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our nation’s wealth.”

To put it simply, people are waiting for anything to change, as this article explores:

“Trump said he’d shrink the trade deficit with China. It just hit a record high.” – Washington Post, 02/06/18

Posted in NAFTA, president | Comments Off on Trump’s promises for fairer trade distinctly unfulfilled, to this point

Replace NAFTA National Day of Action

December 13, 2017

We are in midst of the sixth round of NAFTA 2.0 talks.  What can we say is going on, in this tense, consequential process (to wrestle with 23 years of loss to communities due to the North American Free Trade Agreement)?  A straight-ahead news article/update here.

  • Senator #Bernie Sanders, Randi Weingarten, Rosa DeLauro, Simone Campbell, many others are rallying in DC for our #ReplaceNAFTA Day of Action.
  • All over the country, a nationwide call-in day on #NAFTA — today — means citizens will be loud and clear in getting the message to their members of Congress that there is a way forward, to transform NAFTA into a deal that works for working people.  If you’re seeing this, you’re helping.  Go here and dial your member of Congress to ask that they demand…

that NAFTA’s renegotiation put people ahead of corporations by eliminating NAFTA’s job outsourcing incentives and adding labor, environmental and climate provisions that meet fundamental international standards, include swift and certain enforcement, and raise wages for all workers. A vote should not be held until these essential standards are met.

Step out on your email and social media (like, post this image — and other Replace NAFTA alerts, going forward) to show our reach and our unity and strength.

This is the coalition (… labor, environmental, consumer, faith and farm groups… these leaders speaking in the DC rally/presser today…)  that defeated the TPP.  And we’re having an impact on the direction NAFTA is heading.  And we flat-out must.

After the current #NAFTArenegotiation round, a round occurs in Montreal, January 23-27.  Rubber has been hitting the road on the (fiercely) competing visions for a NAFTA 2.0.  And it will continue to.  Our window for our impact is wide open; hear and spread our demand in:

– eliminating the job-outsourcing incentive that is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (#ISDS) chapter

– adding labor, environmental, and climate provisions that meet fundamental international standards, including with swift and certain enforcement

– raising the wages for workers in Mexico, which will lift up all, by slowing the corporate search across borders for the lowest common denominator of labor cost

Posted in NAFTA | Comments Off on Replace NAFTA National Day of Action

Oregon’s resources for what we’re saying on NAFTA

This post is for spreading some new resources.  The image below is our ORFTC fact sheet on the NAFTA campaign made in-house.  Further, we have these exciting things to tell you about:

Public Citizen (and their entities Global Trade Watch and did some fabulous research, and you can find it at this site:’s-expansion-nafta-model

All 50 states now have two-pager fact sheets on the costs of NAFTA, state-specific.  Here’s the link for Oregon’s.

Posted in NAFTA | Comments Off on Oregon’s resources for what we’re saying on NAFTA

NAFTA Renegotiation Has Begun. Here’s what you need to know.

NAFTA is being renegotiated starting today.  The time has come when the three countries sit down to make changes to the agreement.  This round of negotiations, which is in Washington DC, will go ’til August 20.  The second round will be September 1-5 in Mexico City.  And on they’ll proceed, with the countries’ leaders wanting to finish up the agreement by end of year.

What needs your attention: we have demanded that the texts-agreed-upon after each round be made public, so we know what’s being negotiated in our name.  Rather than go this route, the Trump administration has said the text is classified.  NAFTA renegotiation is happening along the same practice of secrecy as the TPP.  A round of stakeholder engagement has been denied.  Meanwhile, hundreds of corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status that gives them privileged access to proposed texts and to the negotiators themselves.

What can you do?  Follow this link to demand transparency.

And watch this 5-minute video made by the Witness for Peace team in Mexico

It tells the reality, contrary to Trump’s narrative, of NAFTA’s devastating effect on Mexico.

Check back here for updates, including on the released statements of various organizations concerned with the direction of the negotiation and calling attention to Trump’s neglect so far of what working people have said needs to be in any new NAFTA.

In terms of organizational statements, to be thoroughly informative/helpful to you, here’s one pasted—that of Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC):

Statement on the Start of NAFTA Renegotiations
By Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director, Citizens Trade Campaign

In the midst of the President’s reprehensible response to the racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Charlottesville, the business of his administration continues — with the potential for decades-long consequences to the economy, the environment and public health.

The public is being shut out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations that formally began today.  Meanwhile, hundreds of corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status that gives them privileged access to proposed texts and to the negotiators themselves.

President Trump got into office in large part on his promise to make NAFTA better for working people, but his administration’s written renegotiation plan fails to take the bold steps needed to accomplish that goal.  Instead, it relies heavily on language from the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) corporate power grab.  If corporations are allowed to dictate the terms of NAFTA’s renegotiation, the pact could become even worse for working people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada.

To put an end to rigged trade deals that enrich corporate elites at the expense of the majority, we need a transparent negotiating process that allows the public to comment on draft U.S. trade proposals before they’re formally introduced and to review composite texts at the end of each negotiating round.

Any NAFTA replacement deal and future trade agreement must also meet the following basic criteria:

• Eliminate the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, which promotes job offshoring and gives multinational corporations power to sue governments over environmental, health and other public interest protections before a tribunal of three corporate lawyers.  These lawyers can order U.S. taxpayers to pay corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits.

• Include strong, binding and enforceable labor and environmental standards, not the ineffective rules found in deals like the TPP.  Require that these standards are enforced before the new pact is finalized.

• Require all imported food, goods and services in the agreement to meet all domestic safety, consumer-right-to-know and environmental rules, and uphold nations’ rights to democratically establish domestic farm policies that ensure that farmers are paid fairly for their crops and livestock and that the public has ongoing access to safe, affordable food.

• End rules that waive Buy American and Buy Local policies by eliminating NAFTA’s procurement chapter.

• Remove terms that drive up the cost of life-saving medicines by giving pharmaceutical companies extended monopolies on drug patents.

While not a comprehensive list of necessary changes to a NAFTA replacement, any agreement that fails to meet these simple standards is unlikely to deserve the support of working people at home or abroad.

And, as we’ve said many times before, any NAFTA replacement deal must work for working families in all three countries.  We know that the NAFTA debate isn’t a question of the United States versus Mexico and Canada, but rather big corporations against the rest of us.

Posted in Free Trade Agreements, NAFTA, president | Comments Off on NAFTA Renegotiation Has Begun. Here’s what you need to know.

Our event has a new flyer. It’s not just the flyer. What Trump intends to do with #NAFTA warrants your attention.


RSVP to indicate your presence at this, here

Oregon Fair Trade invites you to get active and get educated in the (really hot right now) issue of jobs and trade.  The Trump administration is taking up a rewriting of NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement.  What will NAFTA 2.0 look like?  Signs point to a renegotiation that may only tinker around the edges of the NAFTA model, a model that has wrought damage of 23 years.

Our event — a NAFTA Town Hall, in Portland on Thursday, August 10 at 7:30 at AFSCME Hall — will educate on the unfolding NAFTA politics and will examine the legacy of NAFTA for Oregonians.  We will hear of the NAFTA-enabled corporate behavior that costs, in livelihoods, on both sides of borders.  We will hear from Portland workers, who make Oreos (among other products) for Nabisco, who suffered a work stoppage — and whose jobs are in peril — as part of a large trend of that company’s offshoring.

Get in on the uniting around this issue (and the activism that it requires), from many sides of NAFTA’s impacts — job loss, downward pressure on wages, public health and safety, climate change acceleration, migration, and others.

NAFTA Town Hall – After 23 Years.
Thursday, August 10 at 7:30pm
AFSCME Council 75 (6025 E Burnside St.)
in Portland, Oregon

Use our RSVP link, at
Find this event on Facebook at

Posted in Free Trade Agreements, NAFTA | Comments Off on Our event has a new flyer. It’s not just the flyer. What Trump intends to do with #NAFTA warrants your attention.

Roundup of Reactions from Civil Society to Trump’s Plans for NAFTA

Last week, you noticed that the Trump administration released its document of negotiating objectives for NAFTA 2.0.  Our post, as Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, about this is the most previous post on this site.  It is our statement of response to the Trump release.

But you might be wondering… what are other corners of civil society (and labor and the like) saying about the Trump release??  Well, let’s give you a thorough answer.  Many people have given their specific side of the larger story that the Trump plan falls unacceptably short.  (It’s not just Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign whose statement we linked in the earlier post.)

People — speaking for their estimable and diverse organizations — who have weighed in include Richard Trumka, James P. Hoffa, Leo Gerard, Robert Martinez, Jr, Chris Shelton, Michael Brune, Bill Waren, Roger Johnson, Juliet Majot, and of course Lori Wallach.

Here are the statements/reactions in comprehensive, list form:

“Administration Falls Woefully Short in NAFTA Renegotiation Plans”

“Teamsters Disappointed by Lack of Specifics in New NAFTA Objectives”

“Administration’s NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Must Reverse Past Failures”
USW+Sierra Club (Gerard and Brune publish as co-author, op-ed contributors at Morning Consult)
“Wanted: A Trade Agenda That Values People Over Corporations”

“Working People Must Come First in NAFTA Negotiations”

CWA (their general release)
“New NAFTA Looks a Lot Like TPP”
CWA (Chris Shelton’s article as a guest commentator at CNBC)
“Trump’s new NAFTA plan is all wrong. Here’s what he needs to do to fix it”

UAW (Note: this is an exception — not actually a reaction to the Trump release, as, it predates it.  But it is stellar and from an important voice — Dennis Williams, president of United Auto Workers — so it’s included.)
“New NAFTA for Working Families”

Sierra Club
“Trump’s Promised NAFTA ‘Plan’ Keeps Workers and Communities in the Dark”

Friends of the Earth (their brief statement)
“Trump’s NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Indicate Possible Stealth Attack on Public Health, Food, Agriculture”
Friends of the Earth (their full statement)
“NAFTA Renegotiation: A Stealth Attack on Food, Agriculture, Chemicals, and Biotechnology Safeguards”

National Farmers Union
“NAFTA Objectives a Missed Opportunity for Family Farmers”

Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy
“NAFTA Renegotiation Objectives Fall Short for Farmers and the Planet”

National Family Farm Coalition
“Rural America Cannot Export Its Way Out of Financial Ruin”

Centro de los Derechos del Migrante
“Migrant Workers Left Out of NAFTA”

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
“NAFTA Plan Does Not Describe Promised Transformation of NAFTA to Prioritize Working People”

Posted in NAFTA, president | Comments Off on Roundup of Reactions from Civil Society to Trump’s Plans for NAFTA

The Trump administration releases NAFTA objectives. Here’s how we respond. Follow the link to submit comment.

Yesterday, the USTR released the awaited (eighteen-page) document outlining its negotiating objectives for when — in thirty days — the U.S. is at the table with Mexico and Canada, to redo NAFTA.  You can see the USTR’s document here.  Our petition for telling the President and Congress that Trump’s plan falls short, to the point of being unacceptable, is here, and please submit your name.  Also, find Citizens Trade Campaign’s statement in response to the release, on their site, here.

The Trump administration continually signals to us that it has a values problem and a competence problem.  Trump’s politics are not working people’s values.  And the blame that he cast during the campaign for folks’ economic hardship was leveled at Mexico, and others, who are getting a better “deal” than we are, supposedly.  Trump’s story of grievance missed the mark of an authentic critique of NAFTA.

He is a con-man on trade (at least, so far).  The TPP and NAFTA to Donald-Trump-the-Candidate were unacceptable, disastrous deals.  Yet given the chance to renegotiate NAFTA, the Trump administration has inserted TPP language in the NAFTA objectives.  The new NAFTA negotiating objectives are not an improvement over TPP on labor and environment — the provisions there in TPP having been rejected as inadequate by us (and civil society broadly).

Human rights as an objective is not in the administration’s document, which is a step backward from Congress’s 2015 Trade Promotion Authority bill,  which chanced to use the phrase in one place.  Congress’s 2015 Trade Promotion Authority bill passed; it is what we are living under (and it is commonly known as the Fast Track rules) and it was originally the table-setter, procedurally, for the TPP (and other trade agreements to follow).  (So, Trump’s “new” NAFTA is literally more of the same.)

The administration’s release is vague.  It is specific only in one place: in its pushing for the elimination of NAFTA’s Chapter 19, which instituted review panels to help enforce anti-dumping.  The fact that the removal of a chapter was mentioned, but it was not NAFTA’s Chapter 11, is a serious point.  It means Trump’s intent is to keep the ISDS system in place, whereby corporations can sue governments if the governments have laws on the books that the corporations perceive block their profit-making.

In total, Trump here presents a plan ripe for corporate expansionism and not a deal that was demanded by (and, in a sense promised to) working families.  It is unoriginal, it is business-as-usual, and it is not welcome news for those of us taking a firm stance for people and planet.  There will need to be — now more than ever — real transparency in this process, and people waking up to Trump’s hollowness in his promises to make things “a lot better.”

Our petition demands transparency, in addition to insisting on seeing people’s real needs put ahead of corporate designs.

Posted in NAFTA, president | Comments Off on The Trump administration releases NAFTA objectives. Here’s how we respond. Follow the link to submit comment.