US Department of Labor, US Trade Representative applaud agreement to resolve alleged violations of workers’ rights at Panasonic auto parts plant
WASHINGTON – The United States and Mexico have announced the successful resolution to a Rapid Response Mechanism petition that alleged workers at the Panasonic Automotive Systems plant in Reynosa, Mexico, were denied freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
Filed under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the petition marks the third time the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Trade Representative have used the mechanism to benefit workers successfully.
The government of Mexico facilitated a resolution that included actions by Panasonic to remediate workers’ claims, including recognition of the independent union, SNITIS as the workers’ sole bargaining representative and the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement that significantly increased workers’ wages. The remediation also included reinstatement with full back pay of workers allegedly terminated for participating in union activity and repayment of wage deductions for those who participated in a work stoppage at the facility.
“The Biden-Harris administration’s trade policies continue to support the rights of workers across North America to freely organize unions and choose their own representatives,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said. “By invoking the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism in this case, we are ensuring that businesses consistently and uniformly respect workers’ freedom of association. I applaud this outcome and the efforts of all parties involved.”
During the investigation of the case, attachés from the department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs visited Reynosa to interview stakeholders, conduct worker testimony, and further the department’s ability to collect case evidence crucial to the successful resolution.
“This announcement is yet another example of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to defending the rights of workers, including those that live beyond our borders. By enforcing labor rights under the USMCA, we are creating a more competitive North American economy where workers and businesses can operate on a level playing field,” Ambassador Katherine Tai said. “I commend the government of Mexico for coordinating a prompt and thorough resolution to the concerns raised by Mexican workers.”