News Release

Department of Labor, Office of US Trade Representative announce rights denial remediation, new union election at Teklas Automotive Mexico

Protects freedom of association, collective bargaining rights at Aguascalientes facility

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today announced the conclusion of a Rapid Response Mechanism petition under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with respect to Teklas Automotive Mexico, an auto parts facility in Aguascalientes. The petition alleged that the company had denied its workers their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.

Teklas Automotive and the Mexican government responded to the petition by taking several steps to address alleged denial of rights, including the following:

  • Reinstating with backpay and benefits, as required by Mexican law, two workers dismissed for engaging in protected union activity.
  • Issuing an employer neutrality statement on freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • Establishing guidelines to safeguard freedom of association and collective bargaining at the facility.
  • Restructuring the facility’s human resources department to ensure staff involved in denying workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights no longer work in these roles and hiring new personnel to carry out those duties.
  • Training workers and managers on new policies.

Since the petition’s filing, the U.S. and Mexican governments have monitored the facility to ensure that no denial of rights occurred. On Jan. 29, 2024, workers at Teklas elected a new union, the Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana, in a free and fair vote overseen by Mexican labor authorities and the International Labor Organization. The union has since begun a collective bargaining process with the company.

“We commend the government of Mexico and the company for taking concrete steps to ensure that human resource personnel do not interfere with workers’ rights to choose a representative union and for reinstating workers who were fired for trying to exercise that right,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “The U.S. government will continue to monitor the situation at the facility, including the ongoing collective bargaining process.”

“The closure of this case recognizes the role of the RRM in cultivating an environment where workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are respected,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “We commend the Government of Mexico and Teklas for their commitment over the last few months to remediate the denial of rights that occurred.  We are hopeful that these actions have laid the groundwork for better union-employer relations at the facility.”  

The announcement follows a September 2023 request for review by the U.S. government in response to a petition filed by the Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana, in which the union alleged unlawful dismissal of union delegates as retaliation for their support of the union’s effort to obtain collective bargaining rights. The U.S. government’s investigation found evidence to support the allegations and determined a request for review under the USMCA was merited. 

The Rapid Response Mechanism 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.

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
April 9, 2024
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Media Contact: Ryan Honick
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