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For Workers, No Such Thing as Free Trade

April 04, 1993

After reading the article "NAFTA Talks Face Critical Test" (March 17), it is insulting to the American worker to think that the proponents of the North American Free Trade Agreement would have us believe that Mexico would be made more prosperous and in turn buy American-made products.

Do they really expect us to be duped into believing that on an average wage of $40.55 per week Mexicans would be able to afford American tools cast in Buffalo, refrigerators manufactured in Iowa, computer software developed in the Silicon Valley, etc.?

What is more likely to happen is American industry would go south to Mexico, where a laborer earns an average $8.11 per day, taking away American jobs.

According to the article, the trade agreement would address worker protection in Mexico, which now is virtually nonexistent. American companies have already been taking advantage of this. A good example is the Ford Motor Co. plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. They have been building cars there since 1982, paying workers $2 an hour. Now workers want a 35% pay increase to $2.70 an hour. Ford is protesting that demand. No government intervention on behalf of the worker; most likely they will negotiate only a 10% increase. With these kind of wages, which American company would be able to compete? Certainly not in manufacturing.

Thank you, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), for warning us that this trade agreement will cause widespread job losses in the United States.

And, let's remind our representatives who vote for passage of NAFTA that when they put the U.S. worker out of work, the unemployed worker will remember the favor at election time.

RAY ZEPEDA

Diamond Bar

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