The USMCA has the strongest labor provisions of any U.S. trade agreement. In addition to petitions under the Labor Chapter, the agreement includes the innovative Facility Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) that permits the U.S. Government to take expedited enforcement actions against individual factories that appear to be denying workers the right of freedom of association and collective bargaining under Mexican law. Stakeholders can file labor chapter petitions and Rapid Response petitions, and the U.S. government can also self-initiate RRM actions. The Department of Labor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have already collaborated on multiple RRM cases to protect workers’ rights under the USMCA. Read more about individual cases here.
On August 10, 2021, the United States and Tridonex, a subsidiary of Cardone Industries, announced an agreement to address allegations that workers at its auto parts facility in Matamoros, State of Tamaulipas, are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. The allegations were filed by the AFL-CIO and other unions in the United States, Public Citizen and the National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers (SNITIS) in Mexico. This agreement is the second time the U.S. government successfully used the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) to hold our trade partners accountable for their labor obligations under the USMCA and to protect workers ability to freely exercise their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. Notably, Tridonex commits to pay severance and backpay, express neutrality in any union representation election, and protect workers from intimidation and harassment in such election. Additionally, the Government of Mexico has agreed to facilitate workers' rights training for employees, monitor any union representation election at the facility, and investigate any claims by employees of workers’ rights violations.
On July 8, 2021, the U.S. and Mexico announced a first-of-its-kind comprehensive plan to remediate a past denial of the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights for the workers at the General Motors’ facility in Silao, Mexico. A result of the first self-initiated petition under USMCA’s Rapid Response Mechanism, the plan lays out steps to ensure that the more than 6,000 workers at the facility will be able to participate in a vote on their collective bargaining agreement free of interference. This effort is the latest example of the productive collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Labor (STPS). In August 2021, workers rejected the collective bargaining agreement in a free and fair vote.
- Read the press release and joint statement
- Read the STPS press release (Spanish)
- Read the Ways & Means press release
- Read the UAW statement
- Read the press release on the new vote
From Feb. 1 through Feb. 2, 2022, approximately 5,400 workers at the General Motors’ facility in Silao, Mexico voted in a historic election to determine collective bargaining representation. Four unions appeared on the ballot, and worker participation was high with nearly 90% of eligible workers casting votes.
The new Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration (Federal Center) oversaw the election and certified the results on February 15, 2022, with the National Independent Auto Workers’ Union, a new union known by its Spanish acronym, SINTTIA, receiving more than 4,000 votes. The landmark May 2019 labor law reform created the Federal Center, along with other new and independent institutions to enforce freedom of association and collective bargaining rights in Mexico, consistent with Mexico’s obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Experts from Mexico’s National Electoral Institute and Human Rights Commission observed the vote, as well as several external observers from academic and labor rights organizations. While the remediation plan officially concluded in September 2021, the United States remained vigilant, monitoring conditions on the ground leading up to the February election to ensure that workers would once again be able to exercise their voting rights without interference.
This election represents an important achievement for the newly created Federal Center in ensuring a free and fair election under Mexico’s new labor justice system and sends a strong message about the government of Mexico’s commitment to enforce the new labor rights outlined in the 2019 labor reform.