Joint ETUC-AFL/CIO statement - U.S. and European Labor Unions Call on Trade and Technology Council to Deliver for Workers

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Ahead of the May 15–16 ministerial meeting of the U.S.–E.U. Trade and Technology Council (TTC), trade unions call on the U.S. government and the European Union Commission to deepen trans-Atlantic cooperation and deliver meaningful results for workers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Since the inaugural ministerial meeting of the TTC in September 2021 in Pittsburgh, the AFL-CIO and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) have engaged with both governments on a range of issues with concrete recommendations on creating more secure supply chains, safeguarding sensitive worker and consumer data, ensuring the green energy transition supports the creation of good jobs, and eliminating forced labor from global supply chains.  

Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has underscored the importance of enhanced trans-Atlantic cooperation to demonstrate support for a rules-based, multilateral order that upholds freedom, democracy and human rights.  

As the second TTC ministerial approaches, we call on both governments to deepen their engagement with trade unions and deliver concrete deliverables that advance worker rights and inclusive economic growth, including: 

  • The creation of a formal trans-Atlantic tripartite trade and labor dialogue (TALD), a formal channel for trade unions and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic to inform the TTC process and shape trans-Atlantic trade and investment relations.
  • Deepening cooperation on addressing the global trade in goods made with forced labor, including the development and enforcement of import bans on such goods into the U.S. and E.U. markets. 
  • Developing common approaches to the effective integration and enforcement of labor and environmental standards in trade agreements, unilateral preference programs and global trade rules at the World Trade Organization. 
  • Promoting responsible business conduct, including the development and implementation of mandatory corporate human rights due diligence regimes necessary to incentivize corporate action to address forced labor, child labor and other human rights violations that plague global supply chains. 
  • Advancing a “worker-centered” vision for digital trade that protects workers’ and consumers’ sensitive personal data from being collected, sold or shared with third parties. 
  • Deepening cooperation on the effective regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, including addressing the potential for AI to undermine laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, gender and other protected categories. 
  • Ensuring that any digital trade commitments preserve the domestic policy space necessary for governments to effectively regulate the fast-evolving digital economy.  
  • Deepening cooperation on ensuring a just transition to green energy sources, including the development of good clean energy supply chains that are resilient and free from forced labor. 
  • Addressing the challenges posed by nonmarket economies, including unfair trade practices that have injured workers and businesses in both the United States and the European Union.   
  • Deepening cooperation on the monitoring and enforcement of environmental standards in trade agreements, including a commitment for each party to meet its carbon reduction obligations under the Paris Agreement on climate change. 
  • Ensuring that efforts to establish new technical standards include input from trade unions and are consistent with the EU’s commitment to the “precautionary principle” in regulation.

The ETUC and the AFL-CIO believe that the TTC can be an important forum to deepen trans-Atlantic cooperation across a host of issues that are important to working people. We look forward to deepening our participation and stand ready to work with the E.U. and U.S. governments to identify practical measures that can lift wages and standards on both sides of the Atlantic.

12.05.2022
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