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Union Split Over Korea Trade Pact Heating Up

UAW defends pro-free trade position.

by on Dec.10, 2010

The UAW finds itself on the pro side of free trade - and taking heat from other unions.

The AFL-CIO has ramped up its vocal split with the United Auto Workers by announcing its opposition to the trade deal with South Korea, which the UAW has endorsed.

The announcement underscores the growing rift the UAW faces in an increasingly divided labor movement.  With rare exception, other unions are bitterly opposed to the trade deal despite concessions that the autoworkers believe will open up the Korean market while delaying any changes that could boost Korea’s share of the U.S. automotive market.

Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO president, said the proposed U.S.-Korea trade deal does not live up to the fair trade model and does not contribute to a sustainable global future.

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“We believe we must move towards a more democratic, sustainable and fair global economy with broadly shared prosperity for working people around the world.  Reaching that goal will require deep-seated reforms in current trade policy, as well as in our own domestic labor laws and other policies,” said Trumka, who praised the Obama administration for attempting to address concerns of American autoworkers.


Ford Locks Horns With South Koreans

Maker takes aim at allegedly closed market.

by on Nov.05, 2010

Korean carmakers have a virtual lock on their home market, but is it due to unfair trade practices?

Ford Motor Co. is firing a series of broadsides at South Korea, accusing the Asian nation of keeping its market closed to foreign cars, even as it uses a free trade deal negotiated with the United States to expand auto sales here to record levels.

Korean representatives dismissed the allegations and pointed to a 2007 trade agreement between the two countries designed to offset past problems that kept the Korean car market virtually closed.

“For every 52 cars Korea ships here, the U.S. can only export one there,” blared a new website posted by Ford, at

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“We believe in free trade,” the website continued, “and this isn’t it,” it said, noting that only 5% of the currently cars sold in South Korea come from abroad.