Teamsters Rally February 16 to Keep Border Closed
Feb 23, 2001 12:00 PM, Modern Bulk Transporter staff
Teamster members from across Texas gathered February 16 near the U.S.-Mexico border to voice their opposition to the recent North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panel ruling that the United States must open its border to trucks coming from Mexico. The Teamsters were joined by a coalition of elected officials from Texas, highway safety advocates, environmentalists and Mexican union officials.
“We are here today to support public safety over corporate profit. Unsafe equipment and drivers with no basic worker protections are a recipe for disaster on our highways,” Phil Young, Teamsters Freight Director and International Vice President, told the crowd.
If the NAFTA Panel ruling is implemented, millions of trucks and drivers that do not follow US safety standards would gain access to the entire U S highway system, a potentially fatal situation for American motorists, according to Teamster officials.
Last year, nearly four million trucks from Mexico crossed the border before transferring their loads to US vehicles inside a commercial zone 15 miles from the border. Less than one percent of those Mexican trucks were inspected for safety violations, according to Teamsters officials. It is the union’s position that the United States should put more resources toward border inspection, in addition to increasing the safety standards for Mexican trucks.
“Let us be very clear, Mexican truck drivers are not our enemies,” said Tyson Johnson, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 745 in Dallas, Texas and international vice-president. “Flawed trade agreements that pit worker against worker are the real enemy. Mexican drivers deserve a living wage and safe equipment, so that everyone may compete fairly.”
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