For the third time this year, and the fifth time overall, the United States has pursued action under USMCA’s Rapid Response Mechanism
WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Manufacturas VU (VU) facility in Piedras Negras, State of Coahuila, are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. The request, which was made in response to a petition filed by two Mexican labor organizations, marks the fifth time the United States has used the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“Our continued use of the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism underscores the Biden-Harris Administration’s serious commitment to advancing the rights of workers,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Workers deserve the right to freely organize for the union of their choice. We look forward to working with the Government of Mexico to promptly address this issue, as we have done in prior instances.”
In connection with the U.S. request, Ambassador Tai has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend the final settlement of customs accounts related to entries of goods from the VU facility.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On June 21, the ILC received a RRM petition from two Mexican labor organizations, La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana and Comité Fronterizo de Obreras. The petition alleged that workers at the VU automotive components facility in Piedras Negras are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining. The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC determined, based on its review of the petition, that there is sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the United States Trade Representative has submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico review whether workers at the VU facility are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining. Mexico has ten days to agree to conduct a review and, if it agrees, 45 days from today to complete the review.
In June, the United States asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Teksid Hierro facility in Frontera, State of Coahuila, are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining. Information about this request can be found here. Earlier this month, the United States announced a successful resolution of a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism issue at the Panasonic Automotive Systems facility in Reynosa, Mexico after raising the issue in May. More information on USTR’s use of the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism can be found here.
A copy of the request for review can be found here.
A copy of the letter to the Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.