Canada's Detroit Three Union Boss Seems Pretty Darned Pleased After Trump's Trade News

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
canadas detroit three union boss seems pretty darned pleased after trumps trade news

Reactions are varied following this morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and pull the country out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

North of the border, however, the leader of Canada’s Detroit Three autoworkers was apparently dancing a jig. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed thrilled when he appeared on talk radio to sing the praises of the president’s executive actions. Trump’s moves are “a great opportunity to right the ship,” he said.

Dias, fresh from this past fall’s bruising Detroit Three contract talks — in which his bargaining team extracted key concessions from all three automakers — told 580 CFRA, “I’m celebrating.”

While Canada signed on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, its membership was never ratified. With the U.S. now abandoning the 12-member agreement in favor of bilateral trade talks with individual countries, TPP is effectively dead, and the always-endangered Canadian auto industry could gain some breathing room.

Labor unions, for the most part, never warmed to NAFTA, and TPP was viewed by many as a very, very bad thing for blue-collar jobs.

“We knew it was going to impact the auto parts industry and OEMs,” said Dias. “There’s no question we were going to take another hit.”

Under TPP, countries like Japan, which ship an enormous amount of vehicles to the U.S. and Canada, would have eventually seen tariffs on North America-bound cars and light trucks eliminated. Canadian-made vehicles, on the other hand, flow within North American borders. The thought of Canadian-made vehicles one day ending up in Malaysia or Chile is ridiculous, Dias said.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will reportedly meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tomorrow. How the Canadian-American trade relationship will change is up for debate, though advisers to the PM have said it’s not something to worry about. Trump’s chief concern is low-cost Mexican facilities.

In a press conference this afternoon, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said that multi-national trade agreements resulted in the U.S. “negotiating at the lowest common denominator.” In bilateral deals, he said, countries that find themselves in disagreement can simply renegotiate.

Certainly, Dias isn’t worried about a renegotiated NAFTA. The union boss shares similar concerns about the decades-old agreement.

“Since 1999, Mexico has opened eight assembly plants,” Dias said, adding that the Canadian auto industry struggles to maintain its workforce. “It’s an example of how one country has benefited to the chagrin of the other two.”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Join the conversation
7 of 38 comments
  • VoGo VoGo on Jan 24, 2017

    Bark is no longer an editor at TTAC and has been stripped of the 'editorial rights' he claimed. He is now an "advice columnist." Oh good. When TTAC readers need to know which Ford product projects douche strongest, they will now have a guide. #Grateful.

    • See 4 previous
    • OldManPants OldManPants on Jan 24, 2017

      @OldManPants Then you jus' get down witcher bad se'f!

  • Doublechili Doublechili on Jan 24, 2017

    "Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner will reportedly meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tomorrow." Maybe the most significant line in the story. The only person I seem to hear about is Steve Bannon (because when the opposition paints the guy at the top as an idiot, they need an evil genius behind the scenes), but you can be sure the first two people who have the ear of the Prez are Ivanka and Kushner (both have been Dems BTW). And if you read that Forbes article you know the guy is a prodigy and had as much or more to do with Trump winning as anyone besides Trump himself. But meeting with a foreign leader this early in the game? Wow.

  • Golden2husky 78 Concept is pretty awesome to me -
  • Redapple2 Make mine a 110 Defender- diesel.
  • Redapple2 What is the weight of the tractor? What is the range at full load? What is the recharge time? Not a serious product if they are HIDING the answers.
  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.