WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Trade Representative is announcing an agreement with Tridonex, a subsidiary of Cardone Industries, to address allegations filed on behalf of employees at the Tridonex facility in Matamoros, State of Tamaulipas, that workers are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining in connection with a union organizing campaign at the Tridonex facility. The Government of Mexico also agreed to take actions to protect workers’ rights at the facility.
This action shows the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a worker-centered trade policy that protects workers’ rights at home and abroad. Americans should not have to compete against foreign workers who are deprived of their rights, including the right to organize and collectively bargain.
The United States has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to using the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) robust mechanisms to ensure worker rights are protected, and USTR leveraged the agreement to help protect collective bargaining rights in Mexico. Effective action and diligent, continued engagement are required ensure that the promises in a trade agreement are kept. Under the USMCA, we have robust mechanisms to ensure worker rights are protected.
In this case, USTR employed the USMCA to help protect collective bargaining rights in Mexico, working constructively with the Government of Mexico and the company to reach a resolution. The agreement reached today not only helps workers in Mexico to exercise their rights, but also helps American workers by preventing trade from becoming a race to the bottom.
USTR launched this action on June 9th in response to a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition filed on May 10th by the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, and the “Sindicato Nacional Independiente de Trabajadores de Industrias y Servicios “Movimiento 20/32” [National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers – 20/32 Movement] (SNITIS).
The United States will monitor the implementation of the agreement closely, which includes the following commitments:
- Tridonex will pay at least 154 workers who were dismissed from the plant a minimum of 9 months of pay per worker and more for workers with more seniority, totaling over $600,000.
- Tridonex will support the personal, free and secret vote of its workers, including by issuing a declaration of neutrality and allowing Mexican Labor Ministry (STPS) inspectors and independent observers to access the facility, starting now and continuing after a union representation election.
- Tridonex will improve transparency by providing the collective bargaining agreement and (CBA) and future revisions to all union-eligible workers, management and HR employees.
- Tridonex will permit STPS to provide training, at the facility and during work hours, to all Tridonex workers on the rights of collective bargaining and freedom of association, and will provide similar training on a regular basis going forward.
- Tridonex will take multiple steps to improve its human resources capacity and policies to better protect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including by conducting a thorough review of its labor relations practices.
- To ensure a safe workplace, Tridonex will continue to screen workers for COVID-19 symptoms, test workers who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who have known workplace exposures, and provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment to prevent workplace spread. In order to further protect employees, Tridonex will also consult with an epidemiologist regarding its COVID-19 safety practices, and endeavor to implement their recommendations.
- Tridonex will maintain and promote awareness of a hotline and anonymous and confidential email, managed by an external provider, for workers to report violations of their rights. Tridonex will investigate these complains and ensure that workers who use the hotline and email will not be subject to retaliation.
In addition, the Government of Mexico will:
- Guarantee that workers can vote for their union representation in free, safe, and peaceful conditions.
- Provide for robust STPS inspections of the Tridonex facility, beginning immediately and continuing during and after the potential vote, including a follow up inspection one year after the potential vote to guarantee the right of workers to vote for the union they want to represent them.
- Allow for the implementation of an electoral observation program.
- Ensure that Tridonex plays a neutral and non-interfering role during the vote.
- Provide trainings to Tridonex workers on their collective bargaining and freedom of association rights.