US Department of Labor, Trade Representative request Mexico review alleged denial of labor rights at INISA 2000 garment plant in Aguascalientes
WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement today requested the government of Mexico review an allegation that the rights of workers at the Industrias del Interior, S. de R.L. de C.V. 2000 garment facility in Aguascalientes are being denied.
The action follows a petition alleging the garment plant is violating workers’ freedom of association and the exercise of their right to collective bargaining. The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Trade Representative co-chair the committee.
On May 12, 2023, the trade unions Frente Auténtico del Trabajo and the Sindicato de Industrias del Interior filed a USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition with the department claiming that the employer intervened in internal union activities, discouraged workers from attending union assemblies, and coerced workers to accept the terms of a collective bargaining agreement proposed by the company. The U.S. government investigation revealed evidence of coercion and interference by the company, including that the company undermined the new union leadership and pressured workers to accept the employer’s revision to a collective bargaining agreement.
“Employer interference in union internal affairs and coercion of workers to sidestep newly elected union leadership is unacceptable,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “The Mexican government has indicated its support for full implementation of the labor reform. Working together, we can address the issues in this case and protect the rights of workers.”
“This announcement demonstrates again the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to using the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism to safeguard the rights of workers and the promises enshrined in the USMCA,” said U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Today’s action highlights the United States’ focus in ensuring workers in all sectors have freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. As in previous matters, we look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to address the issues present in this case.”
Sufficient and credible evidence supporting the allegations enabled the committee to invoke the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism. Mexico’s government has 10 days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and present its findings.
The USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism allows the United States to take enforcement action based on the labor situation at an individual factory in Mexico that fails to comply with domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.
The INISA 2000 Aguascalientes facility is a sewing operation and part of a larger production chain dedicated exclusively to the manufacture of denim jeans. Established in 1974, it is a wholly owned family business based in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Approximately 95 percent of its production is exported to the U.S., and the facility employs approximately 700 workers.