The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its additional labor agreement, the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), supported globalization between North American countries. Mexico, Canada, and the United States signed the agreements intending to increase economic growth and employment over a fifteen-year period. NAFTA proponents believed it would serve as a stimulus for long-term economic gains. Opponents disagreed, citing the ineffectiveness of the labor accord in protecting workers and major job losses. In the United States, NAFTA negatively impacted labor union organizing drives, women, and minorities. Nothing is ever free, and these demographics pay the price for “free” trade. This burden strengthens because the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) encompasses most of the Western Hemisphere and its impact will be even greater.   NAFTA and the global economy made many employees fearful about their dispensability in the workplace. Many American workers are afraid to join unions due to job insecurity and threats of relocation. Union membership provides the power of collective bargaining, while highlighting the need for equal standards among all workers. The FTAA encompasses thirty-four countries. If NAFTA is their blueprint, the effects would devastate women and minorities. Due to the hardships imposed upon union organizing drives, women, and minorities, the FTAA should utilize another blueprint so as not to repeat the same mistakes. Otherwise, the United States, by way of free trade agreements, will continue to exacerbate racial and gender divides in the country. Union organizing drives and workers’ rights should not continue to pay for free trade.

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The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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