I said earlier today that Rich Trumka was probably getting something from the administration in exchange for pushing disappointed rank and file to support the Dems in November, and I was right:
The U.S. Labor Department announced on Friday the United States will request consultations with Guatemala’s government under the labor chapter of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). This is the first such action by any U.S. administration against a trading partner.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statementthat the announcement “demonstrates the strong commitment of the Obama administration to enforcing our trade laws, including the obligation to respect workers’ rights.”
More than two years ago, the AFL-CIO and six Guatemalan unions filed a complaint with the Labor Department outlining the systemic failure of the government of Guatemala to enforce its own labor laws or to take reasonable action to prevent violence against trade unionists.
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said that the action sends a strong message that the Obama administration will vigorously enforce labor obligations under the U.S. free trade agreements.
We are committed to ensuring that U.S. businesses and workers compete on a level playing field and that labor rights are respected in our trading partner countries.
In a report released last year, the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center noted that in addition to the brutal repression of workers’ freedoms, Guatemala’s laws hinder workers from exercising their basic rights in many ways. Some laws criminalize legitimate union activity. Efforts to strengthen labor laws have been rolled back in recent years. Click here to read the repor
This is big. American companies won’t find it quite as easy to outsource jobs if they have to meet these standards.