Trump v Trumka: president marks Labor Day with attack on union leader

04 September, 2018, 00:00 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Donald Trump

The tweet made it out even before a courtesy "Happy Labor Day!" tweet, boasting over the same issues Trumka bashed.

Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, had on Sunday disputed the White House's strategy for renegotiating the NAFTA trade pact and argued that Trump had "done more to hurt workers than to help" them since taking office.

The revised deal did not include Canada, although the president said trade negotiations with America's northern neighbor would begin "pretty much immediately".

He says on Twitter that a deal will go ahead with or without Canada's involvement, and if Congress tries to intervene, he will "terminate NAFTA entirely".

One individual pointed out that when it comes to hypocritical support of American workers, Trump is not alone.

Replacing NAFTA is a top priority for Mr. Trump, who calls the landmark trade agreement "the worst deal ever made".

In a second tweet Saturday, Trump suggested that the United States would be better off with no trade agreement than with a flawed NAFTA deal.

Trade tensions between the United States and Canada increased after the Toronto Star newspaper quoted Trump as saying he would sign a deal only if it was "totally on our terms".

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the negotiations over the past four days were "constructive, and we made progress".

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Talks between USA and Canadian trade officials broke down Friday after the Toronto Star published off-the-record comments Trump made during a Bloomberg interview. But Canada's dairy industry - backed by Quebec politicians of all stripes - is adamant that it won't stand for the government allowing the USA any more market access, saying it has compromised enough on past trade deals with the European Union and Pacific Rim countries.

Pelc said that Republican members of Congress as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are "dead set" against a bilateral deal with Mexico.

The U.S. and Mexico reached a deal on Monday that excluded Canada.

While the two sides failed to meet a deadline set by the White House, both US and Canadian negotiators insisted that they were making progress.

Trump then said Canada had until Friday to climb on board-a significant date because Congress needs 90 days' notification to approve a new NAFTA, and Mexico gets a new president at the start of December.

He urged the crowd to not let Trump or anyone else divide Americans based on race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. Outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wanted to sign a deal before he left office December 1.

Union membership nationwide has fallen markedly from the 1970s, with the percentage of American workers in a union dropping from about 25 percent in the 1970s to less than 11 percent in 2017, according to survey data. Ottawa does have other complaints. "At the same time, we are concerned that excluding Canada from a final agreement will limit our export opportunities and hurt the USA economy".

And as they prepare to resume negotiations Wednesday, they say they are optimistic. Lander also believes Trump would need Congressional approval to withdraw from NAFTA "Because NAFTA was enacted through an act of Congress, Congress has to undo it", he said in a phone interview.

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