Secretary of Labor, US Trade Representative support protection of labor rights at Mexico’s Manufacturas VU auto parts facility
WASHINGTON – The U.S. and Mexico today announced that, in response to a petition provided in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Mexican government took actions to ensure a free and fair election to choose union representation for workers at the Manufacturas VU Auto Components facility in Piedras Negras, State of Coahuila.
The Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition raised concerns that workers’ rights to freely associate and collectively bargain were being denied. Following Mexico’s review and supervision of the election, VU workers voted in favor of an independent Mexican union, La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana on Aug. 31, 2022. LSOM is the first union representing workers there for purposes of collective bargaining.
The July 21, 2022, petition marks the fifth successful use by the U.S. government of the agreement’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism to benefit workers’ rights. During the case’s investigation, attachés with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs visited Piedras Negras to interview stakeholders, conduct worker interviews and gather information that contributed to a successful resolution.
“Workers at Manufacturas VU Auto Components facility now have a union – chosen through a fair election – with whom they are consulting as they prepare for negotiations for their first collective bargaining agreement,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The Department of Labor commends the government of Mexico’s efforts and we look forward to continuing our collaboration to promote respect for workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.”
Prior to the vote, and during the period of review, the government of Mexico raised awareness of the upcoming vote, its process and its implications. It also educated workers and provided training to the facility’s human resources and supervisory personnel. The government obtained a written commitment from the VU to remain neutral in the vote, which the employer then communicated to workers at the facility.
Officials from Mexico’s Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration made site visits in the weeks before the vote to investigate misconduct allegations and oversaw the vote on election day. At the request of the Mexican government, officials from the International Labor Organization and Mexico’s National Electoral Institute served as election-day observers. On Sept. 9, 2022, the Federal Center issued LSOM a certificate of representation, which authorizes LSOM to bargain collectively on behalf of VU workers.
“Rapidly resolving this matter again demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s success putting trade policy into action,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The steps taken by the U.S. and Mexico to promote workers’ rights and workplace democracy reflect our shared commitment to ensure that workers are able to organize freely and support the union of their choice. I commend the Government of Mexico for helping to facilitate a prompt conclusion to the important concerns raised by Mexican workers.”
In addition, the government of Mexico will conduct further inspections at the facility to monitor the situation and respond if allegations are raised.