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China NAFTA and Workers' Rights and Jobs
Harmonization The central focus of pro-NAFTA campaigning was the issue of U.S. job creation, so it is
Other Issues fair to measure NAFTA's real-life results against its backers' expansive promises of
Congressional Voting hundreds of thousands of new, high-paying U.S. jobs. However, even measured against
Records the more lenient "do no harm" standard, NAFTA has been a failure. Using trade flow
Take Action! data to calculate job loss under NAFTA (incorporating exactly the formula used by
NAFTA's backers to predict 200,000 per year NAFTA job creation) yields net job
destruction numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Whether the loss of hundreds of
thousands of jobs qualifies as "a giant sucking sound" depends on the ear of the listener.
It is clear, however, that NAFTA has indisputably led to widespread job loss, with
Entire Site over 412,177 U.S. workers certified as NAFTA casualties under just one narrow
For Keyword(s) government program. The fact that job growth totally unrelated to NAFTA has produced
Search a net gain in U.S. employment during this period in no way changes the reality that
NAFTA has cost large numbers of individual workers their jobs, most of whom are now
unemployed or working at jobs that pay less than the ones they lost.
The U.S. economy created jobs at a fairly rapid rate in the 1990s, but without NAFTA,
hundreds of thousands of full time, high wage, benefit-paying manufacturing jobs would
not have been lost. It is also important to note that while the U.S. economy is
generating substantial numbers of new jobs in absolute terms, the quality of the jobs
Keep up with Public created is often poor. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the professions with
the greatest expected future growth in the U.S. are cashiers, waiters and waitresses,
janitors and retail clerks. These and other lower-wage service jobs are the kind that
will most likely be available to workers displaced by NAFTA.
Economic surveys of dislocated workers shows that the jobs lost to NAFTA, in many
cases high-paying manufacturing jobs, are, in the majority of cases, replaced by lower
paid employment. NAFTA also has had a negative effect on the wages of many
Americans whose jobs have not been relocated but whose wage bargaining power with
their employers is substantially lessened; NAFTA puts them in direct competition with
skilled, educated Mexican workers who work for a dollar or two an hour or less. NAFTA
was supposed to ameliorate this problem by raising Mexican living standards and wages.
Instead, both have plummeted, harming the economic prospects for workers on both
sides of the border.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Database
Search Job Loses Due to NAFTA by State or Company
Public Citizen | NAFTA and Workers' Rights and Jobs - NAFTA and Workers' Rights an... Page 2 of 2
Other Helpful Sources
Articles: n (11/1/98) : Occupational Safety and Health; Labor Rights (U.S.
Department of Labor Finds Mexican Maquiladora Plant and
Mexican Officials Violated Mexican Labor, Health, and Safety
Reports: n (2/1/97) NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create U.S. Jobs
n (2/1/97) NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create U.S. Jobs
Press Releases: n (1/7/03) Day After Announcing Dubious “Stimulus” Package
Aimed at Creating U.S. Jobs, Bush Administration Launches Talks
to Expand Job-Killing NAFTA
Publications: n (9/3/02) Adding Insult to Injury for Pennsylvania Workers:
Implications of Congress' Approval of a Fast Track Expansion of
NAFTA to 31 Countries and a Weak Safety Net for Workers
n (2/1/97) NAFTA's Broken Promises: Failure to Create US Jobs
Other Helpful n "Fast Track to Lost Jobs: Trade Deficits and Manufacturing
Sources: Decline Are the Legacies of NAFTA and the WTO"
n "The Free Trade Magic Act: In a Dubious Study, First You See the
Benefits of Globalization, Then You Don't"
n "The Unremarkable Record of Liberalized Trade" (EPI Report)
n "Will New Trade Gains Make Us Rich? An Assessment of the
Prospective Gains from New Trade Agreements"
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