United States Seeks Mexico's Review of Alleged Denial of Workers’ Rights at Mexican Airline

August 30, 2023

For the eighth time in 2023, and thirteenth time overall, the United States has sought Mexico’s review under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism.

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether pilots at Aerotransportes Mas de Carga (Mas Air), a Mexico City-based airline that provides cargo transportation services, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the thirteenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the first time the United States has done so in the services sector.
“Workers’ ability to affiliate with the union of their choice is a key tenet of the freedom of association and collective bargaining rights the RRM is designed to protect,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Today’s action highlights the United States is committed to safeguarding the labor rights enshrined in the USMCA across industries and sectors, including in services.  We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to address the issues present in this matter.”
“This request for review is another example that compliance with the labor commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a priority for the United States in all sectors the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism covers,” explained Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We expect to continue our good collaboration with the government of Mexico in addressing the fundamental issues raised in this request.”   
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On July 31, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Asociación Sindical de Pilotos Aviadores de México (ASPA), a Mexican union.  The petition alleged Mas Air engaged in harassment, intimidation, and retaliation against workers because of their union affiliation.  The petition also alleges irregularities in connection with a May 9, 2023 legitimization vote.  The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC subsequently determined 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 pilots at the Mas Air facility are being denied the right to freedom of 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.
A copy of the request for review can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.