News Release

US Department of Labor, Office of the Trade Representative find evidence of denial of labor rights at Atento call centers in Hidalgo

19th request under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism

WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement, co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of the Trade Representative, today requested the government of Mexico conduct a review at Atento call centers in Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo. The committee found evidence that workers’ rights have been denied at these centers.

The request follows a Dec. 18 petition filed by the Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana labor union, alleging violations of workers’ freedom of association rights by Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V.

Filed under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, the petition alleges Atento unlawfully terminated workers for union organizing and that the company engaged in several actions that interfered with union activities. A U.S. government investigation found evidence of freedom of association abuses, meriting a request for review.

“The U.S. government’s investigation revealed egregious employer conduct at the Hidalgo facility. This conduct constituted retaliation against workers for their union activities and interference with union organizing. This is unacceptable. The Mexican labor law reform and the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism were designed to address just this sort of violation,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to find solutions to these issues in this strategic sector.” 

Sufficient and credible evidence supporting the denial of workers’ rights allowed the committee to invoke the USMCA’s RRM.

“The USMCA ensures that workers can freely select the union of their choice without compromising their job positions or work conditions,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The United States maintains its ongoing commitment to using the RRM to support workers and to ensure that their rights of organizing and joining their preferred union are recognized and protected.  We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve concerns that are present in this matter.”

Mexico’s government has ten days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and present its findings. 

Atento is a Spanish multinational corporation that supplies customer relationship management and business process outsourcing services. Atento operates two call center facilities in Hidalgo that supply telephone-based customer service for clients of BBVA bank. 

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
January 19, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Christine Feroli
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