The United States on Thursday struck a deal with Mexico to give workers at a General Motors plant the ability to vote on a collective bargaining agreement under “free and democratic conditions.”
It is the first step toward redressal of a complaint filed in May using a new “rapid response” mechanism in the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement last year. The new agreement included the right to unionize factory workers in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and authorized penalties for factories that violated workers’ rights to free union and collective bargaining.
In a statement, United States Trade Representative Catherine Tai portrayed it as a victory for the Biden administration’s commitment to workers.
“Achieving an agreement with Mexico on a reform plan demonstrates the USMCA’s ability to protect workers’ rights and the benefits of a worker-centered trade policy,” Ms Tai said. “Fully implementing and implementing the USMCA not only helps workers out there, but it also helps American workers by preventing business from running to the bottom.”
The deal comes after the Biden administration May I asked mexico To review whether labor violations have occurred at the Silao plant located in the central state of Guanajuato. The administration said it had received information indicating a “serious violation” of workers’ rights linked to April’s vote on a collective bargaining agreement.
The corrective plan calls for a new vote to be held by August 20, which Mexico’s labor ministry will oversee to make sure polling areas are safe and ballots are protected. If the vote does not take place, the collective bargaining agreement will be abolished, but workers will retain their rights and other unions can negotiate on behalf of the workers.
Mexico will send federal inspectors to the plant from this week and continues through voting. According to the agreement, thirty-two inspectors – five times the number in the initial vote – would be present. The International Labor Organization and Mexico’s National Electoral Institute will also send observers to monitor the turnout.
Earlier this year voting was halted following allegations that the union and the plant had interfered. Mexico’s labor ministry said in May that it had found “serious irregularities” in the vote, and conducted a review in response to a request from the United States. The United States and Mexico began discussions on a corrective plan on 25 June.
GM said in a statement that it welcomes the agreement and supports the US and Mexican governments’ goal of protecting workers’ rights.
“General Motors is pleased that Mexico has completed a review of the union’s vote on the Collective Bargaining Agreement at our plant in Silao and that the United States and Mexico agreed in August on a treatment plan to support a free and fair vote, The company said. .
The revised trade agreement required Mexico to update its labor system, and the country changed its labor laws in 2019. One of the biggest goals is to eliminate specific collective bargaining agreements, known as security contracts, reached with employer-dominated unions and lacking worker input. Such contracts are prevalent in the country.
The trade office said the United States will continue to monitor the completion of the treatment plan and take further action if necessary.