WASHINGTON – The United States today announced the successful resolution of the first USMCA facility-specific Rapid Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) petition in the garment sector regarding the situation at the Industrias del Interior (INISA) facility in the state of Aguascalientes, where workers were previously denied their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. In July, the United States and Mexico agreed on a plan to address labor violations occurring at the facility. That plan has been implemented and workers’ rights have been restored.
“This matter marked the first time the United States invoked the RRM outside of the autos sector, exemplifying the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued commitment to ensuring our trade tools serve to defend workers’ rights across a wide range of industries,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We commend the Government of Mexico and INISA for their efforts to encourage positive outcomes for workers at this facility.”
“The Department of Labor recognizes the efforts by the Government of Mexico, the petitioners, and INISA to address the issues at hand at this plant, the first RRM case in the garment sector,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, Thea Lee. “The case shows that our commitment to partnering with Mexico to resolve cases, regardless of covered sector, leads to positive outcomes for workers, the core interest of both governments.”
Actions taken by the facility and the Government of Mexico to address the matter include:
- INISA paying certain benefit vouchers retroactively and increasing the value of those vouchers going forward;
- INISA adopting and posting a neutrality statement and company guidelines on freedom of association and collective bargaining, including a zero-tolerance policy for violations;
- INISA establishing a complaint mechanism for workers to anonymously report any violations of their rights and breaches of company guidelines on freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- INISA relocating the union’s office and full-time union work employees to an area separate from the company’s human resources department;
- The Government of Mexico delivering in-person trainings for company personnel on freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- The Government of Mexico distributing informational material at the facility regarding 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). On May 12, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), a Mexican labor organization, and the Sindicato de Industrias del Interior, a union representing workers at the facility. The petition alleged that INISA, which manufactures denim garments, was committing acts of employer interference and failing to bargain in good faith with the union. The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
In response to the petition, the ILC determined that there was sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms. As a result, on June 12, 2023, the United States Trade Representative submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico conduct its own review. Mexico agreed, and on July 27, 2023, concluded there were ongoing denials of the right to free association and collective bargaining at the facility. On August 9, 2023 the United States and Mexico announced a course of remediation to remediate the denials of rights.
Read the full course of remediation here.
Read an unofficial courtesy Spanish translation of the full course of remediation here.