News & Politics

Canada Demanding U.S. End 'Right to Work' Laws as Part of NAFTA Renegotiation

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Canada is demanding goodies from the United States Congress as part of the renegotiation of NAFTA.

From The Globe and Mail:

One group of negotiators spent all day Sunday working on the labour file, according to a schedule of the talks obtained by The Globe and Mail. One source familiar with the discussions said Canada wants the United States to pass a federal law stopping state governments from enacting right-to-work legislation; the source said the United States has not agreed to such a request. Canada believes that lower labour standards in the United States and Mexico, including right to work, give those countries an unfair advantage in attracting jobs.

Jerry Dias, the leader of Canada’s largest private-sector trade union, said Ottawa’s negotiators are: pushing Mexico on its corporate-sanctioned unions, which are accused of negotiating collective agreements unfavourable to workers; agitating for both countries to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does; and targeting American right-to-work laws that allow workers in unionized shops to refuse to pay dues, draining money from unions.

“I’m very pleased with the position the Canadian government is taking on labour standards,” Mr. Dias, president of Unifor, told reporters outside the talks. “Canada’s got two problems: The low wage rates in Mexico and the right-to-work states in the United States.”

There’s audacious, there’s egregious, and there is political extortion.

That a country with a population roughly equivalent to that of California is demanding the passage of a federal law in the United States is a bit…much. Worse yet, it is a law that shifts powers from the states to Washington, which is never a good idea.

Right-to-work states don’t have an “unfair advantage,” they simply have an advantage because most American workers would prefer to have some say in whether they join a union or not. The states that have gone right-to-work in recent years haven’t done so through executive fiat, they’ve chosen to via the ballot box. Canada obviously fears more are on the way.

So we have a socialist ally insisting that the right of American voters be abrogated by Congress. Unacceptable.

Maybe Canadian officials are still clinging to the Obama years, when capitulation to foreign demands was the order of the day.

The scary thing is, given how awful the Republicans are at being in charge on Capitol Hill, it’s not out of the question that they could cave to something like this if negotiators fall for it. Many might balk at that suggestion, but I’ve found it safest now to never rule out something getting as weird as it can when it comes to politics anymore.

We’re still living in The Onion times, after all.