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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its supplemental labour pact, the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC), reflect the uneven advances of labour rights advocacy in connection with international trade. NAFTA provides extensive rights and protections for multinational firms and investors in such areas as intellectual property rights and investment guarantees. The NAALC only partially addresses labour rights and labour conditions. But within its limits, it has shown itself to be a viable tool for crossborder solidarity among key actors in the trade union, human rights and allied movements. The NAALC’s principles and complaint mechanisms create new space for advocates to build coalitions and take concrete action to articulate challenges to the status quo and advance workers’ interests. Cooperation, consultation, and collaboration among social actors have brought a qualitative change to transnational labour rights networks in North America.


Suggested Citation
Compa, L. (2001). NAFTA’s labour side agreement and international labour solidarity. Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publishers Statement
Copyright by Blackwell Publishing. Final paper published as Compa, L. (2001). NAFTA’s labor side agreement and international labor solidarity. In P. Waterman & J. Wills (Eds.), Place, Space and the New Labour Internationalisms.