WASHINGTON – The United States and Mexico today announced a course of remediation for the company and the Government of Mexico to address denials of rights at the Draxton facility in Irapuato, Guanajuato. The United States has invoked the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)’s Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) eleven times and this announcement marks the fifth time the United States and Mexico have agreed on a formal course of remediation under the RRM.
Today’s announcement follows a self-initiated request for review the United States sent to Mexico on May 31, 2023, regarding concerns that workers are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining at the Draxton facility in Irapuato. The request included concerns regarding the retaliatory termination of a union official and workers not receiving their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before they voted on it. It also included concerns regarding employer interference in union activities to control the union at the plant and suppress workers’ efforts to form a new independent union. Mexico accepted the request and concluded that workers at the facility are being denied their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
“This course of remediation requires the reinstatement of a union official who was unlawfully dismissed for advocating for workers and it will help foster a productive workplace,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The Government of Mexico has been an outstanding partner and we look forward to continued collaboration in this case. The United States will closely monitor the plan’s implementation.”
“The Biden-Harris administration acknowledges the government of Mexico for their continued collaboration in developing comprehensive actions to remediate denial of rights under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “This course of remediation recognizes the importance of union autonomy as key to effective union representation and seeks to establish clear guidelines that will make that a reality at the facility while serving as a model for other workplaces.”
The course of remediation lays out a plan to remedy violations of Mexican law at the facility, and it includes elements aimed at preventing future violations at the Draxton facility.
Under the course of remediation, the Government of Mexico will ensure that Draxton:
- Reinstates a worker terminated due to union activities and that there will be no discrimination, harassment, intimidation, coercion, threats, reprisals or violence against the worker moving forward.
- Provides the terminated worker full back pay and benefits, from the date of termination until the date of reinstatement.
- Posts, disseminates, and abides by a public, written statement in which Draxton commits to: ensure respect for the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining; affirm its neutrality on workers’ union choices, and guarantee its non-interference in all union activities; and refrain from attempts to influence workers’ views on unions or union officials in any way.
- Issues transparent guidelines that govern the conduct of personnel at Draxton and implement the commitments of the neutrality statement.
- Trains all company personnel and union representatives on the public statement and guidelines and commits to conduct annual trainings moving forward.
- Implements a zero-tolerance policy for violations of the guidelines and neutrality statement.
- Distributes a printed copy of the current CBA to all company personnel, with new workers receiving it on their first day of work.
- Maintains a website for workers to access all relevant materials related to trainings, the company’s public statement and guidelines, as well as the CBA.
The Government of Mexico will:
- Conduct in-person workers’ rights training for all company personnel during normal working hours and post and distribute informational material at the facility regarding freedom of association and collective bargaining.
- Offer a telephone line and/or direct email address for workers to anonymously report any intimidation, coercion, or threats with respect to their selection of a union or union activities, or non-neutrality, or interference in internal union affairs.
- Monitor the facility, including by conducting periodic inspections related to the obligations of this course of remediation and compliance with Mexican laws related to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and visit the facility prior to any union vote to ensure workers have awareness and the relevant documentation, including the CBA.
- Initiate sanctions proceedings, according to Mexican law, if Mexico has information that shows violations of Mexican law, and impose appropriate sanctions against individuals, labor organizations, or companies that have been found to violate Mexican law.
The United States and Mexico agreed to establish a deadline of October 30, 2023 to complete the course of remediation.
The United States received information appearing to indicate several serious denials of labor rights at the Draxton facility, including the termination of a union official and interference in union activities in order to control the union. When workers at the facility tried to organize a new union, they experienced harassment, surveillance, and intimidation. Additionally, workers did not get their CBA before voting on it in 2022 and still have not received it. After conducting a thorough investigation, the United States decided to self-initiate a request.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative determined there was sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights, and on May 31, 2023, submitted to Mexico a request that Mexico conduct its own review. Mexico agreed, and on July 14, 2023, concluded there are ongoing denials of the right to free association and collective bargaining at the facility. The United States and Mexico then consulted on a course of remediation to remediate the denials of rights.
This course of remediation is the result of the commitment of the U.S. and Mexican Governments to workers’ rights. It represents a success for the workers in the facility and for those who courageously act in their defense.
Read the full course of remediation here.
Read an unofficial courtesy Spanish translation of the full course of remediation here.