Demand Workers are Heard in NAFTA Renegotiations

Chris Stergalas

Chris Stergalas Senior Online Organizer, Working America

Right now, there’s a lot of talk among politicians and the media about the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA for short. We need you to join with working people to urge our elected leaders to have our backs this time by demanding an open, transparent debate. The importance of trade deals to good jobs and fair wages can’t be stressed enough — and we need to know what’s being discussed.

Working people didn’t have a seat at the table the first time NAFTA was signed (nearly 25 years ago). They didn’t even think of us. As a result, workplaces across the United States shuttered while NAFTA failed to hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights in Mexico. That’s why Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade, and longtime fair trade champion Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), are circulating a letter to their colleagues in the House asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to ensure the negotiation process remains open and transparent.

The NAFTA renegotiation conversation affects working people and our communities too much for us to be left out of the process. We don’t want a “modernized” version of the agreement, we need a new and different trade agreement that puts working people first. We need an agreement with Canada and Mexico that promotes more jobs with better wages you can sustain a family on, and benefits and safety standards on the job in all three countries. Working people must have guaranteed protection from discrimination and abuse across the three countries and we must better preserve our freedom to negotiate.

It’s going to take so much more than talk to make good on the promise of prosperity for working families. That’s why it’s important that our representatives begin to hear from us on this. They were elected by us to represent our interests. Let’s make sure they hear from us now and throughout this process.

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Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work