The president of the largest federation of unions in the country said Monday that the Trump administration and House Democrats had reached a deal on President Trump’s landmark USMCA trade deal after months of negotiation.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who represents a key party in negotiations, told the Washington Post in an email that a deal was in place and he planned to meet with his executive committee later Monday to review the agreement.
“We have pushed them hard and have done quite well,” Trumka said. Last month, the labor union leader said that “until the administration can show us in writing that the new NAFTA is truly enforceable with stronger labor standards, there is still more work to be done.”
The AFL-CIO, which represents over 12 million workers, opposes the existing North American Free Trade Agreement and blames it for destroying millions of domestic manufacturing jobs. In recent months, Democrats have pushed on behalf of unions for tighter labor enforcements in USMCA to avoid the same criticisms. AFL-CIO’s approval likely earns support for USMCA from a majority of House Democrats if the deal is brought up for a vote.
While Republicans have accused Democrats of inaction on the deal, which Trump has called “great for all countries,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has remained staunch in her requirement for labor adjustments, but optimistic of an eventual agreement.
“I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements. A good template,” Pelosi said last month.
On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that both sides were nearing a deal, with an administration official saying “we are very, very, very close to completion,” and suggesting that the deal could be finalized by Christmas.
Update 12:50 p.m.: Trumka is expected to meet with Trump before addressing his committee, according to Bloomberg.
NEWS: AFL-CIO’s @RichardTrumka scheduled to speak with President Trump before the labor leader briefs the AFL-CIO executive committee, sources say.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) December 9, 2019