Submissions under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC)

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2015

U.S. NAO Submission No. 2015-04 (UFCW)

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a public report in response to a submission filed under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) by the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770, the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, and the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research, with research assistance from Change to Win.  The report determines that there is insufficient evidence, at this time, to support specific conclusions related to the Mexican government’s application of labor laws at Chedraui retail stores, in light of information in the submission and additional information obtained during the review. Nonetheless, the report discusses in detail the Department of Labor’s longstanding, serious concerns regarding issues raised in the submission, in particular so-called “protection contracts” and the primary factors that facilitate them, such as structural bias in the Conciliation and Arbitration Boards that administer labor justice in Mexico.

Report Issued
2015

Mexico NAO Submission 2015-1

This submission was received by the National Administrative Office of Mexico (NAO) on May 26, 2015.  It was filed confidentially by a former Department of Labor (DOL) employee.  The submission alleges that the DOL failed to effectively enforce its laws related to discrimination and that the petitioner and other DOL employees experienced and continue to experience discrimination at the DOL.  In July 2018, the Mexican NAO finalized its report of review of the submission.  The report calls the submission to the attention of the U.S. NAO, but does not find violations of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) and does not request consultations under the NAALC.  

Executive Summary of Report of Review (English Translation)

Report Issued
2011

Mexico Submission 2011-1 (H-2B Visa Workers)

This submission was filed September 19, 2011, by the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc, three individual workers, and 13 additional organizations. The submission alleges that the US failed to effectively enforce its minimum wage laws for H-2B workers, inspect and monitor workplaces, investigate complaints, ensure effective remedies for violations of minimum employment standards for H-2B workers, and provide "the same legal protection as its nationals in respect to working conditions." In November 2012, the Government of Mexico published a report of review, which discussed this submission as well as two others concerning H-2A and H-2B workers, and requested ministerial consultations in the form of educational and outreach activities to help inform workers on H-2A and H-2B visas about their labor rights under U.S. laws. On April 3, 2014, the Secretaries of Labor of the United States and Mexico signed a Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration, and under that Declaration, the U.S. and Mexican governments consulted with stakeholders and developed a work plan to carry out outreach. In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare published a report on the outreach events that were carried out pursuant to the work plan.

Report Issued
2011

Canadian NAO Submission 2011-1

On October 27, 2011, the Canadian NAO received a public communication submitted by 80 unions from across North America, including several Canadian unions. This public communication alleged that the Government of Mexico has failed to meet its obligations under the NAALC. Specifically, the submitters of CAN 2011-1 alleged that through its actions surrounding the events in 2009 at Luz y Fuerza del Centro, a state-owned electricity company, the Government of Mexico violated the basic labour rights of the and its members. On January 13, 2012, Canada's NAO accepted this public communication for review. The Canadian NAO received Supplemental Submissions related to this public communication in May and November 2012.

Currently Under Review
2011

U.S. NAO Submission 2011-02 (SME)

On November 14, 2011, OTLA received a submission from the Mexican Union of Electrical Workers (Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas, SME) and over 90 other organizations (including the AFL-CIO, the ITUC, and many grassroots organizations) under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). The submission alleges that the Government of Mexico (GOM) has failed to uphold its commitments under Articles 2 through 6 of the NAALC stemming from the GOM's actions or failure to take action following the issuance of a Presidential decree on October 10, 2009, dissolving the state-owned electrical power company, Central Light and Power, and terminating the employment of over 44,000 SME members. On January 13, 2012, OTLA accepted the submission for review and issued a Federal Register notice on its decision. OTLA is now in the process of conducting its review of the submission to determine its findings on the allegations in the submission, which it will present in a public report to the Secretary of Labor. On June 25, 2012, OTLA determined that an extension of time for its review was warranted, and notified the public in a Federal Register notice that published on July 2, 2012.

Report Issued
2008

Canadian NAO Submission 2008-1 (North Carolina)

On June 20, 2008, the Canadian National Administration Office (NAO), established under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), accepted to review Public Communication CAN 2008-1 on labor law matters in the state of North Carolina, United States of America. Canada will review CAN 2008-1 submission in accordance with procedures established under the Canadian Guidelines for Filing Public Communications. Public Communication CAN 2008-1 was submitted to the Canadian NAO by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the Canadian Association of Labor Lawyers (CALL), along with more than 40 other labor organizations in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Public Communication CAN 2008-1 alleges that the United States has failed to meet its obligations under the Agreement because legislation in North Carolina denies public sector employees the right to engage in collective bargaining. The submission also raises issues related to the following NAALC labor principles: freedom of association and protection of the right to organize; elimination of employment discrimination; minimum employment standards; equal pay for women and men; prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses; and compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses.

Currently Under Review
2006

Mexico NAO Submission 2006-1 (North Carolina Public Employees)

This submission was filed on October 17, 2006, with the Mexican Government by the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (the Authentic Labor Front). The submission was also supported by several dozen unions and federations in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The submission raises concerns about the rights of public employees in North Carolina to bargain collectively, and contains allegations of discriminatory employment practices and unsafe workplaces that violate the principles of the NAALC. Specifically, the submitters contend that North Carolina General Statute §95-98 — which declares public sector collective bargaining agreements "to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect" — violates the obligations contained in Part Two of the NAALC and the labor principles set forth in Annex I of the agreement relating to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The submitters allege that the prohibition of collective bargaining agreements has resulted in public sector workers being denied a voice in establishing conditions of work and has contributed to the prevalence of race and sex discrimination, wage and overtime violations, and unsafe workplace conditions. The submitters requested that the Mexican National Administrative Office review this submission and that the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare initiate consultations with the U.S. Secretary of Labor under Article 22 of the NAALC to discuss the matters raised in the submission.

Report Issued
2006

U.S. NAO Submission No. 2006-01 (Coahuila)

This submission was filed on November 9, 2006 by the United Steelworkers (USW). The USW alleged that the Government of Mexico (GOM) failed to fulfill its obligations under the NAALC with respect to mineworkers and their union at the Pasta de Conchos mine in the Mexican State of Coahuila. The submitters' alleged that workers were denied freedom of association rights and proper access to appropriate labor tribunals, focusing on the Government of Mexico's actions with regard to the National Union of Miners and Metalworkers and its leadership. With regards to occupational safety and health, the USW claimed that the STPS has "repeatedly failed to fulfill its obligation to enforce labor regulations requiring employers to provide workers with satisfactory working conditions that are free of health and safety hazards." In particular, the USW cited inadequate inspection and enforcement actions at the Pasta de Conchos mine, where an explosion killed 65 miners on February 19, 2006. After consideration of the submission, the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs determined that a review would not further the objectives of the NAALC and, on August 31, 2007, declined to accept it for review.

Declined for Review
2005

U.S. NAO Submission 2005-01 (Labor Law Reform)

This submission was filed on February 17, 2005, by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and 22 labor unions from Mexico, Canada and the United States. The submission deals with a labor law reform proposal presented to the Mexican Chamber of Deputies on December 12, 2002. The submission alleges that the labor law reform proposal would substantially weaken existing labor protections, thereby codifying systemic violations of the right of free association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the right to strike, and core labor rights protected by the Mexican Constitution, International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions ratified by Mexico, and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC). After consideration of the submission, ILAB determined that a review would not further the objectives of the NAALC and, on February 21, 2006, declined to accept it for review.

Declined for Review
2005

U.S. NAO Submission No. 2005-02 (Mexican Pilots - ASPA)

This submission was filed on May 27, 2005, by the Airline Pilot's Association of Mexico. The submission deals with allegations of sustained and recurring actions of non-enforcement of labor law by the Mexican government over a five-year period. The submission alleges that the government of Mexico has failed to enforce its laws with regard to freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, and the right to bargain collectively. The submitter alleges that the government of Mexico is in violation of the Mexican Constitution, International Labor Organization Conventions ratified by Mexico, and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation.

Based on a thorough examination of the issues in this case, the U.S. NAO determined that the information provided by the submitters did not substantiate the allegations concerning the failure by the Mexican government to enforce its laws regarding the establishment of a craft union, especially in light of the Mexican Supreme Court's decision on November 25, 2005, which let stand a lower-court's ruling that ASPA was not entitled to establish a pilots-only union. As to the improper dismissal of workers, the submitters had substantially resolved their outstanding claims. Therefore, in accordance with its Procedural Guidelines, on July 7, 2006 the U.S. NAO's determined that a review of the submission would not further the objectives of the NAALC, and accordingly, declined the submission.

Declined for Review
2005

Mexico NAO Submission 2005-1 (H-2B Visa Workers)

This submission was filed on April 13, 2005, with the Mexican government by the Northwest Workers' Justice Project, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, and Andrade Law Office. The submission raises issues concerning rights of migrant workers under the H-2B Visa program in Idaho including prohibition of forced labor, minimum employment standards, elimination of employment discrimination, equal pay for women and men, prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses and adequate compensation in such cases, and protection of migrant workers. In November 2012, the Government of Mexico published a report of review, which discussed this submission as well as two others concerning H-2A and H-2B workers, and requested ministerial consultations in the form of educational and outreach activities to help inform workers on H-2A and H-2B visas about their labor rights under U.S. laws. On April 3, 2014, the Secretaries of Labor of the United States and Mexico signed a Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration, and under that Declaration, the U.S. and Mexican governments consulted with stakeholders and developed a work plan to carry out outreach. In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare published a report on the outreach events that were carried out pursuant to the work plan.

Report Issued
2005

Canadian NAO Submission 2005-1 (Mexican Pilots - ASPA)

The submitters are 35 pilots who are supported by the Mexican Airlines Pilots Union (ASPA). The submission, filed on May 31, 2005, alleges failure on the part of the Government of Mexico to enforce its labor laws on freedom of association and the rights to organize and bargain collectively. It further alleges the failure to provide access to fair, equitable and transparent labor tribunal proceedings. Canada formally rejected the submission for review on January 23, 2005.

Declined for Review
2005

U.S. NAO Submission No. 2005-03 (Hidalgo)

This submission was filed on October 14 by The Progressive Union of Workers of the Textile Industry, the Manufacturing, Cutting and Confection of Fabric and Garments in General and Related and Similar Industries in the Mexican Republic, a member of the "Vanguardia Obrera" Workers Federation of the Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Peasants (FTVO-CROC), with the support of the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, and the Washington Office on Latin America under the NAALC concerning the enforcement of labor laws by the Government of Mexico. The submission focuses on events at a textile plant operated by Rubie's de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., in the municipality of Tepeji del Rio, State of Hidalgo, Mexico.

The submitters allege that the Government of Mexico has failed to fulfill its obligations under the NAALC to effectively enforce its labor law under Article 3 in connection with freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively, the right to strike, prohibition of forced labor, labor protections for children and young persons, minimum employment standards, elimination of employment discrimination, prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses, and compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses, and under Article 5 with respect to fair, equitable and transparent labor tribunal proceedings.

The submission focuses on the submitter's attempts to organize a union at a plant operated by Rubie's de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V., in the municipality of Tepeji del Rio, State of Hidalgo, alleging that Mexico's Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board No. 6 and Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board No. 51 failed to provide workers with fair, equitable and transparent proceedings to enforce their right to form a union to represent the workers in collective bargaining. Allegations also include failure on the part of state and federal authorities to provide effective onsite inspections and remedies for labor law violations concerning forced labor, minimum wage, overtime pay, prevention of discrimination, occupational safety and health, and child labor. Finally, the submitters assert that the actions and/or inaction by the Government of Mexico represent a pattern of non-enforcement of its labor laws. The submission was accepted for review on January 6, 2006. The Office of Trade and Labor Affairs issued a Public Report of Review on August 31, 2007.

Report Issued
2004

U.S. NAO Submission 2004-01 (Yucatan)

This submission was filed on July 12, 2004 by UNITE-HERE and Centro de Apoyo a los Trabajadores de Yucatán. The submission alleged workers' rights violations concerning minimum employment standards and safety and health standards. The submission concerns two companies, operating one plant each, in the apparel industry in the city of Merida, Yucatán. The submission was withdrawn by the submitters on August 26, 2004 without prejudice in order to gather and provide further information.

Withdrawn by Submitter
2003

U.S. NAO Submission 2003-01 (Puebla)

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
2003

Mexico NAO Submission 2003-1 (North Carolina)

This submission was filed with the Mexican Government by the Farmworker Justice Fund, Inc., and Mexico's Independent Agricultural Workers Central (CIOAC) on February 11, 2003, and accepted for review on September 5, 2003. The submission raises issues concerning rights of migrant workers under the H-2A program in North Carolina including freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, the right to strike, the right to minimum employment standards, freedom from employment discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and other improper factors, freedom from occupational injuries and illnesses, compensation in case of occupational injuries and illnesses, and the protection of migrant workers required by law. In November 2012, the Government of Mexico published a report of review, which discussed this submission as well as two others concerning H-2B workers, and requested ministerial consultations in the form of educational and outreach activities to help inform workers on H-2A and H-2B visas about their labor rights under U.S. laws. On April 3, 2014, the Secretaries of Labor of the United States and Mexico signed a Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration, and under that Declaration, the U.S. and Mexican governments consulted with stakeholders and developed a work plan to carry out outreach. In September 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare published a report on the outreach events that were carried out pursuant to the work plan.

Report Issued
2003

Canadian NAO Submission 2003-1 (Puebla)

This submission was filed on October 3, 2003 by the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador. The submission was also filed with the U.S. NAO and includes the same allegations of worker rights violations at two different garment factories located in Puebla, Mexico. The Government of Canada accepted the submission for review on March 12, 2004. On May 11, 2005, the Canadian NAO issued a report recommending ministerial consultations and suggested that the three countries Parties to the NAALC undertake trilateral consultations in this case. Subsequently, all three countries Parties to the NAALC agreed to hold trilateral ministerial consultations. The three Ministers signed a Joint Declaration on April 24, 2008 agreeing to a set of activities to resolve the issues raised in the submission. The activities should be completed within 18 months of the date of the Declaration was signed.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
2001

U.S. NAO Submission 2001-01 (Duro Bag)

This submission was filed on June 29, 2001 by the AFL-CIO and PACE. The submission raises concerns about a union representation election at a Duro Bag Manufacturing Corporation facility in Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Duro Bag is a producer of premium shopping bags for retail sales and is based in Ludlow, Kentucky. The submission alleges that Mexico violated the right of workers to a free, fair election of their bargaining representative by rejecting a request for a secret ballot election at a neutral location and under conditions free of management coercion. After consideration of the submission, the U.S. NAO determined that a review would not further the objectives of the NAALC and, on February 22, 2002, and declined to accept it for review.

Declined for Review
2001

Mexico NAO Submission 2001-1 (New York State)

This submission was filed with the Mexican NAO on October 24, 2001 and accepted for review on November 15, 2001. The submission was filed by the Chinese Staff and Workers' Association (CSWA), National Mobilization Against SweatShops (NMASS), Workers' Awaaz, Asociación Tepeyac, and several named individuals. The submission raises concerns regarding the prevention of and compensation for occupational injuries and illnesses in the state of New York, and labor protections for migrant workers. The submitters allege that the state workers' compensation system subjects workers to unwarranted delays and in cases where compensation is awarded, it is often inadequate. The Mexican NAO issued a Public Report of Review on the submission on November 8, 2002, requesting further consultations with the U.S. NAO under Article 21 of the NAALC on progress being made with regards to issues raised in the submission. On November 19, 2004, the Mexican NAO issued a Second Report of Review and recommended ministerial consultations. On December 7, 2004, the Mexican Secretary of Labor formally requested ministerial consultations. On the basis of initiatives undertaken by New York State authorities and related to the issues raised in the submission, DOL has recommended that consultations on remaining issues or concerns be undertaken at the Council Designee or NAO level.

Report Issued
2000

Submission 2000-01 (Auto Trim/Custom Trim)

This submission was filed on July 3, 2000, by the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, current and former workers, and 22 other unions and non-governmental organizations. The submission raises concerns about occupational safety and health and compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses at Auto Trim of Mexico in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, and at Custom Trim/Breed Mexicana at Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas. The U.S. NAO accepted the submission for review on September 1, 2000. A public hearing was conducted in San Antonio, TX on December 12, 2000 and a site visit was conducted January 22-24, 2001 during which a team composed of NAO staff and industrial hygienists visited the Breed facilities and met with workers.

The NAO issued its Public Report of Review on April 6, 2001, recommending ministerial-level consultations. The U.S. Secretary of Labor formally requested ministerial consultations on June 25, 2001. The Mexican Secretary of Labor formally accepted the request for ministerial consultations on July 24, 2001.

Consistent with the Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration signed June 11, 2002 by Secretaries Chao and Abascal, the U.S. and Mexico will address the issues raised in Submission 2000-01, through the establishment of a bilateral working group of government experts on occupational safety and health issues, who are to be tasked with discussion and review of issues raised in the public communications, the formulation of technical recommendations for consideration by governments, the development and evaluation of technical cooperation projects on occupational safety and health for improving occupational safety and health in the workplace, and the identification of other occupational safety and health issues appropriate for bilateral collaboration. Cooperative activities may emphasize, among other things, best practices in the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses specifically related to handling hazardous substances, labor-management cooperation mechanisms and ergonomics. To date, the working group has focused on Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems and Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), Handling of Hazardous Substances, Inspector and Technical Assistance Staff Training, and the development of the Tri-national Web Page.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1999

Canadian NAO Submission 99-1 (LPA)

This submission was filed with the Canadian NAO on April 14, 1999 by the Labor Policy Association and EFCO Corporation. The submission concerns the United States and its enforcement of section 8(a)(2) of the National Labor Relations Act. On June 15, 1999 the Canadian NAO declined to accept the submission for review. The submitters filed an appeal on June 15, 1999.

Declined for Review
1999

U.S. NAO Submission 9901 (TAESA)

This submission was filed on November 10, 1999 by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) and the Association of Flight Attendants of Mexico (ASSA).

The submission raises concerns about freedom of association, minimum employment standards, and occupational safety and health at the privately owned Mexican airline company, Executive Air Transport, Inc. (TAESA). Specifically, the submitters allege that the union election process at TAESA inhibited flight attendants' right to organize and bargain collectively and in the end, led to the dismissal of those workers who voted for ASSA. The submitters also allege that the Mexican government failed to enforce compliance of minimum labor standards, including payment of overtime and mandatory contributions for social security, pensions, and housing. In terms of occupational safety and health, the submitters allege that TAESA provided inadequate safety training, unsafe flight conditions, and forced flight attendants to work more than the maximum number of permitted hours in flight.

On January 7, 2000, the NAO accepted the submission for review. A public hearing was held in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 2000. The NAO issued its public report on this submission on July 7, 2000, recommending ministerial consultations. The U.S. Secretary of Labor formally requested ministerial consultations on July 17, 2000. The Mexican Secretary of Labor formally accepted the request for ministerial consultations on July 24, 2001.

Consistent with the Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration signed June 11, 2002 by Secretaries Chao and Abascal, the U.S. and Mexico will undertake a series of efforts to address the issues raises in U.S. Submission 9901. This will include a public seminar to be held in Mexico regarding the different types of unions in each country (e.g. craft or guild unions, company-wide unions, sector or industry unions) and their relevant rights related to freedom of association and collective bargaining, in a public seminar.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1998

Mexico NAO Submission 9802 (Apple Growers)

This submission was filed with the Mexican NAO on May 27, 1998. The submission concerns migrant workers in the State of Washington employed in the apple industry and raises issues of freedom of association, safety and health, employment discrimination, minimum employment standards, protection of migrant workers, and compensation in cases of occupational injuries and illnesses. The submission was filed by the National Union of Workers (UNT), the Authentic Workers' Front (FAT), the Metal, Steel, Iron and Allied Industrial Workers Union (STIMAHCS), and the Democratic Farm Workers Front (FDC). The Mexican NAO accepted this submission for review on July 10, 1998 and met with submitters and workers on December 2, 1998. The Mexican NAO reviewed the submission and issued a public report on August 31, 1999, recommending ministerial consultations to gain further information on the following rights of agricultural sector workers: freedom of association and the right to organize, minimum conditions of work, work discrimination, prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses, and protection of migrant workers. On May 18, 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare signed a ministerial agreement for Mexican NAO Submissions Nos. 9801, 9802, and 9803. Under this agreement, a public outreach session was held in Yakima, Washington, on August 8, 2001. This event provided women migrant farm workers and their employers the opportunity to learn about the workers' legal protections and employer obligations concerning minimum conditions of employment, occupational safety and health, and the elimination of gender and ethnic discrimination. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican Department of Labor and Social Welfare held a government-to-government meeting to discuss the application of U.S. law on the following topics: union organizing and bargaining rights; elimination of employment discrimination; minimum conditions of employment, including inspection programs and systems for determining violations of employment conditions for migrant workers; occupational safety and health, including inspection of migrant worker camps; and protection of migrant workers' rights. The United States also conducted a public forum in Maine with migrant workers, community groups, and government officials regarding migrant agricultural issues. All activities agreed to under the consultations have been completed.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1998

Mexico NAO Submission 9801 (Solec)

This submission was filed with the Mexican NAO on April 13, 1998 by Local 1-675 of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW); the "October 6" Industrial and Commercial Workers Union ("October 6"); the Labor Community Defense Union (UDLC); and the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers (SCMW). Mexican submission 9801 raises issues of freedom of association, minimum employment standards, employment discrimination, and safety and health at Solec, Inc., located in Carson, California. Solec manufactures solar panels. The Mexican NAO accepted this submission for review on July 10, 1998. On August 31, 1999, the Mexican NAO issued a public report requesting ministerial consultations to gain further information concerning the issues raised in this submission. On May 18, 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare signed a ministerial agreement for Mexican NAO Submission Nos. 9801, 9802, and 9803. As part of the agreement, the U.S. Department of Labor will host a government-to-government meeting to discuss the application of U.S. law focusing on the issues raised in the three submissions. Topics of discussion will include union organizing and bargaining rights, the elimination of employment discrimination, minimum conditions of employment, and occupational safety and health.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1998

Canadian NAO Submission CAN 98-1 (Itapsa)

This submission was filed with the Canadian NAO on April 6, 1998. The submission raises concerns about the enforcement of labor legislation covering occupational safety and health and freedom of association of workers at the Itapsa export processing plant in Ciudad de los Reyes, in the State of Mexico. The submission was filed by the Canadian Office of the United Steelworkers of America, in concert with eleven other unions and 31 concerned organizations from the three NAFTA countries. The issues raised in the submission are substantially the same raised in U.S. NAO Submission 9703. The Canadian NAO accepted this submission for review on June 4, 1998, and held two public meetings to obtain information on September 14, 1998 and November 5. 1998. On December 11, 1998 the Canadian NAO issued the first part of their report addressing specifically the freedom of association issues raised in the submission. The second report addressing occupational safety and health issues was released on March 12, 1999. Canada formally requested ministerial consultations with Mexico on both issues on March 31, 1999.

Report Issued
1998

U.S. NAO Submission 9801 (Flight Attendants)

This submission was filed on August 17, 1998, by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO. The submission raised issues of freedom of association related to a strike by flight attendants employed by Aerovías de México, S.A. de C.V. (Aeroméxico) on May 31-June 1, 1998. The submitter argued that the Government of Mexico took over operations of that company when the union began a legal strike, therefore compelling the workers to return to work or face possible replacement.

In accordance with its procedural guidelines, the NAO declined to accept the submission for review on October 19, 1998, however it agreed to undertake a research project to evaluate how the three NAALC countries reconcile the issue of the right to strike with national interests of safety, security, and general welfare.

Declined for Review
1998

U.S. NAO Submission 9802 (Tomato/Child Labor)

This submission was filed by the Florida Tomato Exchange on September 28, 1998, and raised the issue of the use of child labor in the production of fruit and vegetables in Mexico. In accordance with its procedural guidelines, the NAO held this submission in abeyance for a year for the submitters to provide further information. No additional information was provided and the case was closed as of October 4, 1999.

Declined for Review
1998

U.S. NAO Submission 9803 (McDonald's)

This submission was filed on October 19, 1998 by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Canada, the Quebec Federation of Labor, Teamsters Local 973 (Montreal), and the International Labor Rights Fund.

Submission 9803 raised issues of anti-union motivated plant closing; delays in the union certification procedure; and problems related to the certification process in cases involving multiple employers or multiple business locations based on the franchise system of corporate ownership. The issues arose from efforts to organize employees of a McDonald's restaurant in the city of St.-Hubert, Quebec, Canada.

The NAO accepted the submission for review on December 18, 1998. Pursuant to the request of the submitters, the NAO ended its review on April 21, 1999 after consultations with the Canadian NAO and the government of Quebec. The submitting labor organizations reached an agreement with the government of Quebec to have the issues of sudden and anti-union motivated plant closings raised in the submission studied by a provincial council.

Withdrawn by Submitter
1998

U.S. NAO Submission 9804 (Rural Mail Couriers)

This submission was filed on December 2, 1998 with the U.S. NAO by the Organization of Rural Route Mail Couriers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, National Association of Letter Carriers, and several other labor organizations in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

The submission raised concerns about the Canada Post Corporation Act, which includes a provision that denies rural route mail couriers the right to bargain collectively. The submitters alleged that rural route mail couriers do not have adequate protection for occupational injuries and illnesses and protection against employment discrimination.

In accordance with procedural guidelines, on February 1, 1999 the NAO declined to accept the submission for review.

Declined for Review
1998

Mexico NAO Submission 9804 (Yale/INS)

This submission was filed with the Mexican NAO on September 22, 1998 and accepted for review on November 23, 1998. The submission was filed by a group of immigration rights and union organizations headed by the Yale Law School Workers' Rights Project. The submission argues that the U.S. fails to enforce its existing minimum wage and overtime protections in workplaces employing foreign nationals due to the Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Department of Labor and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which delineated enforcement responsibilities and provided for sharing of information. The U.S. Department of Labor and the Immigration and Naturalization Service issued a revised Memorandum of Understanding on November 23, 1998 to more clearly delineate the enforcement roles and responsibilities of the departments. The Mexican NAO issued its Public Report of Review and formally requested ministerial consultations on October 30, 2000. The U.S. Secretary of Labor formally accepted the request for ministerial consultations on January 30, 2002. Consistent with the Ministerial Consultations Joint Declaration signed June 11, 2002 by Secretaries Chao and Abascal, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to undertake a series of efforts to address the issues raised in Mexico NAO Submission 9804, which include: Development of informational materials by DOL addressing workplace rights of migrant workers in the United States. Materials such as brochures, pamphlets, and videos are to be produced in Spanish and are to be disseminated in areas of highest concentration of migrant workers in the United States. Promotion of ongoing collaboration between the governments for the replication throughout the United States of model efforts to promote the protection of labor rights of migrant workers

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1998

Mexico NAO Submission 9803 (DeCoster Egg)

This submission was filed on August 4, 1998 by the Mexican Confederation of Labor (CTM). The submission raises issues of protection for migrant workers, employment discrimination, safety and health, and worker's compensation. The submission was accepted for review by the Mexican NAO on August 5, 1998. On December 3, 1999 the Mexican NAO issued its public report of review and recommended ministerial consultations to gain further information on the steps the U.S. Government is taking to ensure that migrant agricultural workers enjoy the same legal protections as its nationals and that they enjoy the respect of their rights in matters of minimum employment standards, elimination of employment discrimination, and prevention and compensation for job‑related accidents and illnesses. A ministerial agreement for Mexican NAO Submission Nos. 9801, 9802, and 9803 was signed by the U.S. Labor Secretary and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare on May 18, 2000. Under the agreement, the U.S. Department of Labor agreed to host a public forum on June 5, 2002 in Augusta, Maine, which was co-sponsored by the State on Maine Department of Labor. Government officials, employer representatives, educators, legal counselors, advocates and other service providers in Maine discussed working conditions and treatment of migrant and agricultural workers in the state of Maine. Consistent with the ministerial agreement, U.S. and Mexican labor officials explored ways of promoting and protecting the rights of migrant and agricultural workers in the United States.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1997

U.S. NAO Submission 9701 (Gender Discrimination)

This submission was filed on May 16, 1997, by Human Rights Watch, the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD) of Mexico. The submission raised issues of gender-based discrimination in Mexico's export processing (maquiladora) industry. The submission contained allegations that the companies, many of which are subsidiaries of U.S. companies, regularly require female job applicants to verify their pregnancy status as a condition of employment and deny employment to pregnant women. Additionally, the submission included allegations that some maquiladora employers mistreat and/or discharge pregnant employees in order to avoid payment of maternity benefits. The U.S. NAO accepted the submission for review on July 14, 1997 and a public hearing was conducted in Brownsville, Texas, on November 19, 1997.

The NAO issued its Public Report of Review on the submission on January 12, 1998, recommending ministerial level consultations for the purpose of ascertaining the extent of the protections against pregnancy-based gender discrimination afforded by Mexico's laws and their effective enforcement by the appropriate authorities.

A Ministerial Consultations Implementation Agreement was signed on October 21, 1998, and the three parties agreed to meet and confer on the issues raised in submission 9701 as well as coordinate a conference. As part of the agreement, Mexico and the United States also agreed to conduct outreach sessions to educate workers close to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pursuant to the Ministerial Consultations Implementation Agreement, on March 1-2, 1999, the Protecting the Labor Rights of Working Women conference was held in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico. This conference served as a forum to discuss the laws and programs that protect the employment rights of women in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Representatives from the Mexican Department of Labor stated that federal labor law in Mexico prohibits employers from denying workers employment for reasons of age or sex. Mexican officials announced that employment discrimination, both pre- and post-hire, on the basis of gender and pregnancy is illegal under Mexican law.

As follow-up to this conference, on August 17-18, 1999, the United States and Mexico held individual outreach sessions in McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Tamaulipas to educate women workers about their rights in the workplace. These events along the U.S. - Mexico border provided women workers and employers the opportunity to learn about workers' legal protections and employer obligations in the workplace. Mexico held a second outreach session in Puebla, Mexico on May 30, 2000.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1997

US NAO Submission 9702 (Han Young)

This submission was filed on October 30, 1997 by the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers (SCMW), the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD) of Mexico, and the Union of Metal, Steel, Iron, and Allied Workers (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria Metálica, Acero, Hierro, Conexos y Similares - STIHMACS) of Mexico. An amendment detailing safety and health issues was submitted on February 9, 1998. The amendment was filed by the Maquiladora Health and Safety Support Network, Worksafe of Southern California, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).

Submission 9702 raised primarily freedom of association issues involving workers at the Han Young export processing (maquiladora) plant in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The submitters alleged that workers at the plant who attempted to organize a union were intimidated and threatened by the company and some of the workers were fired. Han Young has since transferred its operations to another location.

The NAO accepted the submission for review on November 17, 1997. A public hearing was held in San Diego, California, on February 18, 1998. The U.S. NAO issued a public report on April 28, 1998 recommending ministerial level consultations to discuss strategies being considered by the Government of Mexico to ensure that workers' freedom of association and right to bargain collectively are protected.

Submission 9702 also raised issues of the health and safety of the workers employed at the Han Young plant. These issues were addressed in a separate report issued on August 6, 1998. In this report, the NAO recommended ministerial level consultations on the safety and health issues raised.

The U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare signed a ministerial agreement for U.S. NAO Submission Nos. 9702 and 9703 on May 18, 2000. Under this agreement, the Government of Mexico held a public seminar on June 23, 2000, in Tijuana on the principles of freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively.

As part of the ministerial agreement, the Mexican Department of Labor and Social Welfare will continue promoting the registry of collective bargaining contracts in conformity with established labor legislation. Mexico also has agreed to conduct a trilateral seminar to discuss law and practice governing Mexican labor boards, including the rules and procedures to assure their impartiality. In addition, U.S. and Mexican experts will participate in a government-to-government meeting concerning the occupational safety and health issues raised in the two submissions.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1997

U.S. NAO Submission 9703 (Itapsa)

This submission was filed on December 15, 1997, by the Echlin Workers Alliance, a group of unions from the United States and Canada, which includes the Teamsters; the United Auto workers; the Canadian Auto Workers; UNITE; the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America; the Paperworkers; and the Steelworkers. Twenty-four additional organizations, including non-governmental organizations, human rights groups and labor unions from the three NAFTA countries, are cited as concerned organizations in the submission. Subsequently, the AFL-CIO, the CLC (of Canada), and the UNT (of Mexico) joined the submission.

The submission alleged violation of freedom of association at the Itapsa export processing plant in Ciudad de los Reyes, in the State of Mexico. The submitters alleged that when workers at the facility attempted to organize an independent union, they faced intimidation and harassment from the company and the existing union, the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), including threats of physical violence and job loss. The submitters alleged that Mexican government authorities are aware of the situation and have taken no remedial action.

In terms of occupational safety and health, the submission alleged that workers were exposed to asbestos and other toxic substances without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).

The NAO accepted this submission for review on January 30, 1998. A public hearing was held in Washington, D.C. on March 23, 1998. The NAO issued its public report on this submission on July 31, 1998, recommending ministerial level consultations on the freedom of association and the safety and health issues raised.

On May 18, 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare signed a ministerial agreement for U.S. NAO Submission Nos. 9702 and 9703. As part of the agreement, Mexico will make efforts to promote that workers be provided information pertaining to collective bargaining agreements existing in their place of employment and to promote the use of eligible voter lists and secret ballot elections in disputes over the right to hold the collective bargaining contract.

Under the ministerial agreement, the Government of Mexico held a public seminar on June 23, 2000, in Tijuana on the principles of freedom of association and the right to bargain collectively. Mexico also has agreed to conduct a trilateral seminar to discuss law and practice governing Mexican labor boards, including the rules and procedures to assure their impartiality. In addition, U.S. and Mexican experts will participate in a government-to-government meeting concerning the occupational safety and health issues raised in the two submissions.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1996

U.S. NAO Submission 9602 (Maxi-Switch)

This submission was filed with the U.S. NAO by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the Union of Telephone Workers of Mexico (STRM), and the Federation of Goods and Services Companies (FESEBS) of Mexico on October 11, 1996. This submission raised issues of freedom of association for workers attempting to organize a union at a facility owned by Maxi-Switch, S.A. de C.V., in Cananea, Sonora, Mexico. The company produces and markets high-tech keyboards for computers and computer games and is owned by Silitek Corporation of Taiwan.

The NAO accepted this submission for review on December 10, 1996. A hearing was scheduled to be held in Tucson, Arizona, on April 18, 1997. On April 16 the submitters informed the NAO that the issues raised in the submission had come to a favorable resolution and that they were withdrawing the submission.

Withdrawn by Submitter
1996

U.S. NAO Submission 9601 (SUTSP)

This submission was filed with the U.S. NAO on June 13, 1996. It was submitted by three labor rights - human rights groups: the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), Human Rights Watch/Americas (HRW), and the Mexican National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD). The submission raised issues of freedom of association for federal workers and questioned the impartiality of the labor tribunals reviewing these issues.

U.S. NAO Submission 9601 was accepted for review on July 29. A hearing was conducted on December 3, 1996, at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. A report, recommending ministerial consultations on the status of international treaties and constitutional provisions protecting freedom of association, was issued on January 27, 1997. Pursuant to the consultations, the Departments of Labor of Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. agreed to exchange sufficient publicly available information to permit a full examination of the issues raised in the submission. This included a seminar, open to the public, which was held in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 4, 1997.

On December 3, 1997, the submitters filed a request for reconsideration on the ground that some of the issues raised in the original submission were not adequately addressed by the NAO in its report. The NAO declined this request on the ground that the issues raised had been adequately reviewed.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1995

Mexico NAO Submission 9501 (Sprint)

This submission was filed with the Mexican NAO on February 9,1995, by the Mexican Telephone Workers Union and concerned the closure of a subsidiary of the Sprint Corporation in San Francisco shortly before a union representation election was scheduled to take place. About 240 workers lost their jobs. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed an unfair labor practice case with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Mexican NAO reviewed the submission and issued a public report on May 31, 1995, requesting ministerial consultations on the effects of such a plant closure on union organizing efforts. As part of the Ministerial Consultations Agreement between the U.S. Secretary of Labor and the Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, the U.S. Department of Labor held a public forum in San Francisco, California to allow interested persons an opportunity to convey their concerns about the effects of sudden plant closings. The Labor Secretaries further instructed the trinational Labor Secretariat to conduct a study on the effects of sudden plant closing on the principle of freedom of association and the right of workers to organize in the three countries. The study was completed and released on June 9, 1997. On December 27, 1996, the NLRB ordered Sprint to reinstate the dismissed workers and awarded them back pay. The Sprint Corp. appealed this decision to the Federal Courts. On November 25, 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed the NLRB and ruled that Sprint closed the facility for legitimate financial reasons.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1994

U.S. NAO Submissions 940001 and 940002 (Honeywell & General Electric)

These submissions were filed on February 14, 1994, by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) respectively. The submissions concerned the operations of subsidiaries of the Honeywell Corporation and the General Electric Corporation in Mexico. Both submissions alleged that workers had been deprived of their freedom of association insofar as they had not been permitted to organize into the unions of their choice. Both cases were accepted for review by the NAO on April 15, 1994.

Information was collected and a joint hearing was conducted by the NAO on the two submissions on September 12, 1994. In its Public Report issued on October 12, 1994, the NAO concluded that the information was insufficient to establish that the Government of Mexico failed to enforce its labor laws. Accordingly, the NAO did not recommend ministerial consultations. Nevertheless, acknowledging the strong concerns raised in the allegations with regard to the freedom of association and the right to organize of workers, the NAO recommended that the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, develop joint cooperative programs to address these issues.

Report Issued
1994

U. S. NAO Submission 940003 (Sony)

This submission was filed on August 16, 1994, by four workers' rights and human rights organizations, headed by the International Labor Rights Education and Research Fund (ILRERF). The submission concerned the operations of a subsidiary of the Sony Corporation in Mexico and involved allegations concerning freedom of association and the right to organize plus minimum employment standards. Following the information gathering process and the conduct of a public hearing on February 13, 1995, the NAO issued a report on April 11, 1995, recommending ministerial consultations on the issue of union registration in Mexico. The ministers reached an agreement on implementation of ministerial consultations, which included a series of programs designed to publicly address these concerns in all three countries, and these were completed during 1995 and 1996.

The submitters in the case subsequently requested that the Ministerial Consultations be reopened, arguing that the problems raised in the original submission continued. The Secretary of Labor directed the NAO to conduct a follow-up review of the issues raised in the submission, and a related Mexican Supreme Court Decision, and submit a report to him. The NAO conducted the follow-up review as directed and a report was issued on December 4, 1996.

Report Issued, Ministerial Agreement Signed
1994

U.S. NAO Submission 940004 (General Electric)

This submission was filed by the United Electrical, Radio, and machine Workers (UE) against a subsidiary of the General Electric Corporation in Mexico. The UE withdrew the submission on January 25, 1995, prior to the completion of the review process.

Withdrawn by Submitter
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