WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee today announced the resolution of a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) petition related to a Unique Fabricating facility in Santiago de Querétaro, where workers were denied their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Today’s announcement marks the eighth facility in which the United States has successfully used the RRM to benefit workers.
“This matter demonstrates both the United States and Mexico’s commitment to ensuring workers can exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We commend the Government of Mexico and the company for their efforts to quickly resolve this matter.”
“The U.S. Department of Labor appreciates the Government of Mexico’s focus on employer neutrality in its review,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “Workers and unions need to have confidence that they can exercise their fundamental labor rights without interference from their employers.”
The United States sent Mexico a request to review this facility on March 6, 2023. The Government of Mexico conducted a review and took many actions during the review period to ensure workers’ rights are protected at the facility, including conducting training for management and workers, and working with the company to issue a neutrality statement recognizing workers’ ability to select a union of their own choice and stating its zero-tolerance policy toward union favoritism and discrimination. The company also signed an agreement with the new union committing to provide the new and existing unions with equal access to the facility, take steps to prevent potential freedom of association violations, and provide the new union with dues from its affiliates.
Additionally, the Government of Mexico monitored a union representation vote at the facility, in which workers elected an independent union to represent them for purposes of bargaining at the facility.
On February 2, 2023, a Mexican union, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Transformación, Construcción, Automotriz, Agropecuaria, Plásticos y de la Industria en General, del Comercio y Servicios, Similares, Anexos y Conexos del Estado de Querétaro, (“Ángel Castillo Reséndiz” or "Transformation Union") filed a USMCA RRM petition regarding Unique Fabricating. The petition alleged that workers at one of the Unique Fabricating automotive components facilities in Santiago de Querétaro are being denied the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). The ILC reviews RRM petitions and accompanying information that it receives within 30 days. The ILC determined, based on its review of the petition, that there was sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms. The United States Trade Representative submitted a request to Mexico to review the matter. The Government of Mexico reviewed and found that the alleged denial of rights at the facility had been resolved during the review period.
As a result of the above actions taken by the Government of Mexico and the facility, the United States agrees that there is no ongoing denial of rights. Ambassador Tai has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to resume liquidation of entries of goods from the Unique Fabricating facility.