Former UAW President, Bob King, fell in line with current UAW and Canadian auto union Unifor leadership by supporting President Trump’s calls to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
King, who served as UAW president from 2010 to 2014, made the comments during an Ann Arbor rally in support of an EPA testing facility that may be closed under the Trump administration. Ironic.
The ex-UAW chief shares current UAW President Dennis Williams’ belief that NAFTA has harmed American workers at the expense of free trade. Specifically, he believes automakers have invested in cheaper labor rather than at home in the United States.
However, unsurprisingly, King isn’t much of a Trump supporter.
“Workers have to be protected, our economy has to be protected, and the environment has to be protected,” King told Automotive News. “NAFTA didn’t do that. If [Trump] renegotiates NAFTA to do all that, great. I’m skeptical because everything I’ve seen him do so far is to take care of the wealthy, not to take care of the workers or the environment.”
King also called the president out for taking credit at the expense of the UAW. He claims President Trump has ridden a wave of positive job progress when in reality the investments and new jobs in automotive manufacturing were bargained for in a 2015 UAW contract.
“Him taking credit for jobs isn’t real,” King said. “The reality is that they were bargained. Dennis Williams did an amazing job last time getting additional commitments for jobs in this country and billions of dollars invested in cities in America.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects a renegotiated NAFTA treaty to be finalized in mid-2018, although the administration has not signaled its intent to begin discussions. Mexico has also firmly stated it will leave the trade bloc should tariffs be imposed on products leaving the country and returning to the U.S.