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News Release

U.S. Names Panelists for USMCA Labor Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States today named panelists for the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, a key tool for the enforcement of the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) labor protections. The U.S. national panelists are Janice Bellace, Lance Compa, Peter Hurtgen, Ira Jaffe, Kevin Kolben and Ed Potter.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is pleased that some of the best and brightest in the labor field have been appointed to this vital enforcement panel of the USMCA,” said Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia.

“The USMCA has the strongest labor enforcement provisions ever written into any U.S. trade agreement and will help to level the playing field for American workers,” said United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, a bilateral annex of the USMCA between the United States and Mexico, is the first of its kind and allows the U.S. to take expedited enforcement actions against individual factories in Mexico that fail to comply with domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.

The U.S. panelists are as follows:

  • Janice Bellace is the Samuel A. Blank Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Bellace’s research is in the area of labor and employment law and employment relations, with a focus on how international human rights concepts shape regulation and corporate behavior.
  • Lance Compa is a former Senior Lecturer at Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he focused on U.S. labor law and international labor rights. Compa has extensive experience in labor cases with Mexico and in international labor standards.
  • Peter Hurtgen is a partner working in labor and employment law at Curley, Hurtgen & Johnsrud LLP.  He has served as the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board and the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  
  • Ira Jaffe has served as a full-time arbitrator and mediator primarily hearing labor and employment and benefits disputes. He serves on over 60 permanent arbitration panels in the private and public sectors and both President Bush and President Obama appointed Jaffe to serve on, or chair four Presidential Emergency Boards addressing emergency disputes arising under the Railway Labor Act.
  • Kevin Kolben is an Associate Professor at the Rutgers Business School and an expert on transnational labor regulation and labor governance in supply chains. Kolben has written extensively on labor in the international context.
  • Edward Potter is an International Advisory Council Member at the Institute for Human Rights and Business. For over two decades, he participated on the ILO Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations that holds countries accountable for their obligations resulting from the ratification of ILO conventions.

The U.S., in consultation with Mexico, has agreed on six non-national panelists: Gary Cwitco, Cleopatra Elmira Doumbia-Henry, Pablo Lazo Grandi, Salvador Del Rey Guanter, Paul van der Heijden and Adolfo Alberto Ciudad Reynaud.

The mission of the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards, and combating international child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. For more information about the Department’s work on these issues, visit

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.


Bureau of International Labor Affairs
July 1, 2020
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Media Contact: Emily Weeks
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