September 19,2017

Press Contact:

Keith Chu

Democratic Congressional Trade Leaders Call for Immediate Action on Foreign Labor Practices that Cost U.S. Jobs

Outline Specific Steps Administration Must Take to Stop Race to the Bottom on Wages and Working Conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., with Trade Subcommittee Ranking Members Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn., and Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., today called for the administration to act immediately to end foreign labor practices that undercut American workers and cost U.S. jobs.

In a letter to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the lawmakers identified three key actions the Administration must take within the next month to demonstrate its commitment to trade-related labor enforcement:

  1. End cuts to labor enforcement staff and resources at the departments of Labor and State, and use Congressionally-authorized enforcement funding;
  2. Seek ambitious, enforceable commitments from Mexico on labor rights as part of NAFTA negotiations; and
  3. Take decisive enforcement action against countries that fail to comply with labor obligations.

The Trump administration has yet to take action to address trade-related labor violations overseas. 

“Without enforcement, American workers are forced to compete against imports made with slave and child labor, or otherwise produced by workers facing deplorable conditions overseas,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“How the Administration addresses these issues will, in our judgment, clearly indicate whether it is truly committed to leveling the playing field for American workers or whether it is content to stand by and allow U.S. wages and working conditions to be eroded by foreign labor practices,” they continued.

The lawmakers will be reviewing the administration’s record over the next 30 days, and reporting on the results.

To assist the Administration in developing a strong labor enforcement record for workers and accurately assess the Administration’s actions in each of these areas, the letter includes several requests designed to provide greater transparency for the public and Congress on the Administration’s labor enforcement policies.