Bishops in the US and Mexico have come together to issue a remarkable joint statement on trade. RENEGOTIATING NAFTA: Rebuilding our Economic Relationship in Solidarity, Mutual Trust, and Justice calls on government officials in the trade negotiations to “pursue a commercial relationship that is mutually respectful, just and solidary, especially for the poorest in our countries.” The Bishops laid out several criteria that must be met by any just trade policy, including protections for the environment, indigenous peoples, migrants and the poor. Readers of this newsletter will be especially interested in their criteria for “Work and Labor Protection.”
The Church teaches that work has an inherent dignity. We support the protection of worker rights, in their country and in foreign lands, including the right to organize, as well as compliance with internationally agreed -upon worker standards. Concern with job loss in both countries requires that any agreement be accompanied by firm commitments to help workers, as well as their families and communities, cope with both the social and financial strains of dislocation that free trade might bring about. It is fundamental that attention be devoted to safe working conditions, reasonable work hours, time off, living family wages, and other recognized social benefits, as well as preventing child labor.
The statement in its entirety is published, in both English and Spanish, on the USCCB website.