International Labor Policies and the North American Free Trade Agreement: Are Women Getting Their Fair Share?
Author(s)Kelson, Gregory A.
KeywordsNorth American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC)
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AbstractFrom the Introduction: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has always been a document of controversy. On the surface, NAFTA opened trade among its three primary parties -- Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Realistically, however, it has been a cause for tension -- mainly between the governments of the United States and Mexico. The two countries have used NAFTA and its labor side agreement, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), to dictate its economic and labor policies in each other’s countries. This article will argue that more must be done to protect the rights of female workers under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation. I will do this by first examining the NAALC in closer detail to give us the background to work with. Then I will look at both NAALC inquiries in more detail. The complaint against the United States involved a telecommunications company that was a subsidiary of Sprint, Inc. that closed down eight days before a scheduled union representation vote; the complaint against Mexico involved the practice of pregnancy and sex discrimination against female workers in the Maquiladora sector. Finally, I will offer discussion points for the three NAFTA parties and scholars to consider as we move into the next millennium.