US Department of Labor, Trade Representative again request Mexico review alleged labor rights denial at Piedras Negras auto parts plant
WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement today requested that the government of Mexico conduct another review at the VU Manufacturing parts facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, in response to an allegation the facility continues to deny workers’ rights.
The request follows the ILC’s receipt of a new petition filed under the USMCA that claims the auto parts manufacturer continues to deny workers the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. The Interagency Labor Committee is co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Trade Representative.
“This is the second time in less than a year we’ve received allegations of workers’ rights violations by VU Manufacturing. The Biden administration is unrelenting in its efforts to champion workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, here and abroad,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The Rapid Response Mechanism addresses real workplace issues and helps to get the parties to do what they should, which is to resolve issues in good faith at the bargaining table.”
“A core tenet of the Biden administration’s worker-centered trade policy is ensuring workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain without fear of retribution or intimidation. Despite this facility taking positive actions in 2022, some of the failures we identified previously appear to be recurring,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The Rapid Response Labor Mechanism allows us to return to a facility to address new concerns, and we look forward to working with the government of Mexico to promptly address this issue.”
On Dec. 29, 2022, the department received a second USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition filed by the Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana, a Mexican union, and the Comité Fronterizo de Obreras, a Mexican labor rights organization. The two groups allege that VU Manufacturing has continued to illegally discriminate by favoring the minority company union. They also report the facility has denied access rights to LSOM organizers in violation of Mexican law, and allowed members of the company union to intimidate and threaten LSOM members.
The committee found sufficient and credible evidence of a new denial of rights at VU Manufacturing, which enabled the good faith invocation of the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism. Mexico’s government has 10 days to agree to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and to present its findings.
The USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism is the first of its kind and allows the U.S. to take enforcement action based on the labor situation at an individual factory in Mexico if such facility fails to comply with domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.