Nader Discusses UAW Endorsement
DETROIT (AP) _ Consumer advocate and Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader discussed an endorsement Monday with leaders of the United Auto Workers union.
Nader said he didn’t directly ask for the union’s backing, and added that it will not endorse a candidate until after a congressional vote expected this month on providing permanent normal trade relations with China _ which Nader, the UAW and other major labor unions oppose.
Instead of asking for endorsements, Nader said: ``I just tell people what we’re doing.″
Union officials were unavailable for comment Monday.
The UAW broke with the AFL-CIO last October, when it endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, and hopes to use its own endorsement as leverage.
The union has been critical of President Clinton’s trade policies, opposing the North American Free Trade Agreement and Clinton’s push for ``fast-track″ trade negotiations. Since enactment of NAFTA, automakers have turned to Mexican plants for more goods, especially new vehicles.
Speaking in a music club two blocks from GM headquarters, Nader said NAFTA has led to the loss of 100,000 auto jobs in the past six years. He said new plants in Mexico had failed to improve the economy there because wages and standards of living remained low.
``Don’t let anyone ever use that phrase ‘free trade’,″ he said. ``It’s corporate managed trade.″
Nader said he would push for legal reforms aimed at strengthening labor unions, including banning companies from hiring replacement workers during strikes or lockouts, recognizing unions through petitions instead of vote, and giving unemployment benefits to striking or locked-out workers.