United States Seeks Mexico's Review of Alleged Denial of Workers’ Rights at Fujikura Automotive Mexico

December 14, 2023

For the thirteenth time in 2023, and eighteenth 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 Fujikura Automotive Mexico facility in Piedras Negras in the state of Coahuila are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including through the company blacklisting or otherwise retaliating against workers because of union activity at their prior employer, Manufacturas VU.  The United States has continued to closely monitor the effects of the closure of the Manufacturas VU facility, and continues to engage with the Government of Mexico on the matter.  This request for review is one of many ways we are working with the Government of Mexico to ensure former Manufacturas VU workers’ rights are protected.  The United States has suspended liquidation of tariffs on goods from the facility.  The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the eighteenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“Mexican law and the USMCA are both unequivocal regarding protecting workers from unlawful blacklisting and hiring discrimination on the basis of union activity,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve the issues present in this matter.”
“The practices of blacklisting and discrimination in hiring for engaging in protected union activity undercut workers’ right to organize and choose a union freely. They are also a direct threat to the historic labor progress in Mexico,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We appreciate the Government of Mexico’s responsiveness in conducting labor inspections related to issues raised in the petition and look forward to continuing our close collaboration to resolve this matter.”
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On November 13, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Comité Fronterizo de Obreros, a Mexican workers’ rights organization.  The petition alleged that Fujikura Automotive Mexico is refusing to hire workers because of union activity at Manufacturas VU.  The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC 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 Fujikura Automotive Mexico are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  Mexico has 10 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.
A copy of the letter to the Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.