By Liny Lamberink
The head of Unifor isn’t worried that Canada will suffer, as Donald Trump works to prevent jobs being shipped out of the U.S.
The president-elect threatened to hit General Motors with “big tax” if it moves forward with plans to import some compact cars from a plant in Mexico — and Ford Motors has now backed out of its plan to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant there.
Unifor President Jerry Dias says that’s welcome news, because he agrees with Trump that Mexico has been draining good paying jobs from Canada and the U.S., and leaving working class people behind.
“An auto worker in the United States makes $28 an hour, they make about $5 an hour in Mexico. There has been a whole sales shift frankly, of jobs from Canada and the United States to Mexico in the auto industry,” Dias told AM980.
Dias says the problem is glaring, with eight new assembly plants opened in Mexico since 1999 — while two in Canada have been closed.
He says he isn’t raising any red flags, and points out that the auto industries in Canada and the United States are intertwined.
“But I really am welcoming the whole debate on NAFTA, what it has done to the auto indistury, what it has done to the manufacturing industry,” Dias explained, calling NAFTA a “disaster” for a number of sectors in Canada.
“Somehow leaving it the way it is and hoping things will get better is naive at best. I view this as an opportunity. It’s one heck of an opportunity to get back in there and fix what is wrong with it.”
Dias says Trump is racist and sexist, and there is no denying he’s a flawed individual — but he’s right about some things.
“We should be joining with the Trump administration on a common front and saying, ‘here is how we’re going to deal with the trade imbalance with Mexico.'”