For the seventh time in 2023, and twelfth 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 workers at the Grupo Yazaki facility in the state of Guanajuato are being denied the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The Planta León facility, owned by parent company Yazaki Corporation, produces electrical components for autos. The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the twelfth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“Workers’ right to free and fair union democracy votes is critical to the success of Mexico’s labor reform and is a key component of the USMCA labor provisions. Today we ask Mexico to review a situation involving interference in this fundamental right. Through the RRM, we have a proven, successful mechanism to work with the Mexican government to support and complement their domestic labor enforcement efforts,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We look forward to collaborating with the Government of Mexico to address the issues at this facility and uphold workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining across Mexico.”
“Respect for workers’ right to approve their collective bargaining agreement, freely and without interference, is a critical component of Mexico’s labor reform,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We value our strong partnership with the Mexican government and look forward to resolving this matter jointly to ensure that every worker’s voice is heard, respected, and valued, and so that workers fully understand these votes and their consequences.”
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 Grupo Yazaki facility.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On July 5, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Casa Obrera del Bajío, a Mexican labor organization. The petition alleged a number of irregularities that occurred during the facility’s March 31st “legitimization” vote in which workers voted on whether the existing collective bargaining agreement should be upheld. The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC, in response to the petition, 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 workers at the Grupo Yazaki 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.
Information about previous requests can be found here.