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REACTION BY TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT RON CAREY TO THE HOUSE VOTE ON NAFTA

 WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Teamsters President Ron Carey issued the following statement in the wake of the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
 Our fight for a new trade policy appropriate to today's global economy will continue.
 Those Democrats and Republicans who have led the fight against NAFTA's trickle-down approach to trade deserve the thanks of all Americans.
 Politicians who put the corporate special interests ahead of the public interest must be held accountable.
 We will develop political alternatives for 1994 and 1996 so that working people do not just have to choose between the lesser of two evils, but have the opportunity to vote for candidates who support real change from the economic policies of Reagan and Bush.
 Some members of Congress apparently thought there would be no political cost in voting for NAFTA because working people supposedly have "nowhere else to go." We need to develop political alternatives so that we can't be taken for granted.
 The near-victory of our campaign against NAFTA shows what a strong alliance of labor, environmental, consumer and civil rights groups can accomplish.
 We were up against virtually every large corporation in America and the president of the United States. If the issue had been decided on its merits, and not by special interest pork handed out at the taxpayers' expense, we would have won.
 There are several lessons we must learn from this fight:
 -- In today's world, American jobs and living standards cannot be secure and trade cannot truly expand until wages and conditions are improved for workers in other countries. Our fight against NAFTA has made labor and environmental standards part of the national debate on trade policy. We will continue to make that an issue in every trade negotiation that takes place -- including any talks to extend NAFTA to other Latin American countries. When NAFTA begins to cost jobs as we predicted, we will ask our government to invoke its right under the agreement to give six months' notice to withdraw.
 -- We will expand our efforts to support organizing by independent, democratic unions in Mexico. We have worked closely with them to oppose NAFTA. For the good of working people on both sides of the border, we must strongly support their efforts to win better living standards, decent working conditions and democratic rights.
 -- We must continue to strengthen labor's alliances with environmental, civil rights, women's, consumer, community and religious organizations. Working side by side in this campaign, we have developed stronger relationships which will form the foundation of long-term alliances at both the local and national levels.
 This has not been a sports contest or a political game. This was a decision about the future of working people, the environment and small business in the United States, Mexico and Canada. It was a vote on whether families have a livelihood, whether our air and water are poisoned, whether communities survive. Our fight will go on.
 -0- 11/17/93
 /CONTACT: Matt Witt or Gaye Williams of the Teamsters, 202-624-6911/


CO: International Brotherhood of Teamsters ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: EXE LEG

DT-MH -- DC041 -- 5801 11/17/93 22:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 17, 1993
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