Washington, D.C. – As Senator John McCain tries to portray himself as a candidate who cares about America’s working class, his trip to Colombia and Mexico this week to highlight his support for “free trade” is another indication of how out of touch he is to the economic plight of America’s workers and their families.
Senator McCain has borrowed from the Bush Administration’s playbook of supporting trade agreements that have devastated the economy and sent good, middle class jobs overseas. He has consistently voted for unfair trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), and supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization despite its ongoing history of human rights and workers’ rights violations. To add insult to injury, he also voted against measures intended to help stem the flow of jobs lost due to these agreements.
These unfair trade agreements have resulted in the loss of high-wage jobs across the manufacturing sector and damaged our country’s long-standing reputation for technical innovation. NAFTA has contributed to the loss of approximately three million high-wage manufacturing jobs in the United States since 1994, and the loss of high-wage manufacturing jobs to China has forced many Americans to work for substandard wages and benefits—further endangering our country’s economic stability and security.
America’s workers cannot afford four more years of a leader who favors corporate interests over the well being of America’s middle class. The 2008 election provides us with an opportunity to elect a leader who will be tougher in demanding a fair trade system that puts America’s workers first. The UFCW will continue to fight for trade reform by mobilizing its 1.3 million members to ensure that Senator Barack Obama becomes the next president of the United States.