WASHINGTON – The United States and Mexico today announced a course of remediation to address denials of rights at the Goodyear facility in the city and state of San Luis Potosí. This announcement marks the fourth time the United States and Mexico have agreed on a formal course of remediation under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)’s Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM).
Today’s announcement follows a request the United States sent to Mexico on May 22, 2023, asking Mexico to review whether Goodyear was failing to provide workers with the beneficial terms of an existing sector-wide agreement (contrato ley) in place for the rubber manufacturing industry. Mexico accepted the request and concluded that workers at the facility are being denied their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
“This course of remediation is aimed at remedying violations of workers’ rights at the Goodyear facility,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The United States will closely monitor the plan’s implementation. I commend the Government of Mexico for its commitment to bringing this facility into compliance with Mexico’s labor law and for raising awareness of the applicability of the contrato ley across the sector.”
“The Biden-Harris administration remains steadfast in addressing labor rights violations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and supporting robust freedom of association and collective bargaining rights across Mexico,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Thea Lee. “We commend the government of Mexico for committing to take action at Goodyear and in overseeing the just application of the sector-wide agreement to the benefit of workers.”
The course of remediation is aimed at remedying violations of Mexican law at the facility, and it includes elements aimed at preventing future violations both at Goodyear SLP and at other facilities.
Under the course of remediation, the Government of Mexico will:
- Ensure that Goodyear distributes copies of and applies the sector-wide agreement (contrato ley) at this facility.
- Ensure that Goodyear continues to apply any and all wages and benefits currently provided to covered workers that are superior to the terms of the contrato ley.
- Ensure that Goodyear compensates covered workers in the appropriate amounts, as determined by Mexican law, for any wages or benefits those workers did not receive as a result of Goodyear’s failure to apply the contrato ley.
- Ensure that Goodyear posts, disseminates to workers, and abides by a public statement acknowledging its commitment to respect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and affirming its neutrality and non-interference in union activities.
- Ensure that Goodyear issues transparent guidelines explaining the rights it will provide to union representatives and advisors and trains all company personnel on the company guidelines and neutrality commitments, as well as the rights to collective bargaining, freedom of association, and the contrato ley.
- Ensure that Goodyear posts information about how workers can file complaints with the company and the Government of Mexico related to violations of their rights.
- Inform workers of the reasons that led the Government of Mexico to determine there is an ongoing denial of rights at the facility, as well as the scope and content of the Course of Remediation.
- Conduct in-person workers’ rights training for all company personnel.
- Monitor the facility, including by conducting periodic inspections at Goodyear’s facility related to the obligations of this Course of Remediation and compliance with Mexican Laws related to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
- If warranted based on this monitoring, initiate sanctions proceedings, in accordance with Mexican Law, and if applicable, impose the corresponding sanctions on persons, labor organizations, or the company.
- Publish and disseminate materials that explain key issues related to the rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including the law related to and existence of contrato ley, to increase public awareness on the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers, particularly at facilities covered by a contrato ley.
The United States and Mexico agreed to establish a deadline of January 19, 2024 to complete the course of remediation.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On April 20, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from the independent Mexican union La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana (LSOM). The petition alleged that Goodyear SLP, which specializes in converting rubber into car tires, has not abided by the provisions in the contrato ley covering the rubber industry and instead signed a facility-specific collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with benefits inferior to those in the contrato ley. After the petition was filed, a legitimization vote at the facility was canceled by the Government of Mexico due to significant irregularities. A new vote took place on May 7-8, 2023, which resulted in the facility-specific CBA being voted down. In advance of and during this vote, the Government of Mexico took significant measures to ensure that workers felt free to exercise their right to vote without interference—among these, working with Goodyear SLP on a neutrality letter, conducting trainings and inspections, bringing in domestic and international observers, and ensuring ballot box integrity and security. The Government of Mexico and company have since pursued legal action against the perpetrators of the criminal activities intended to influence the outcome of the first vote.
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 May 22, 2023, the United States Trade Representative submitted to Mexico a request that Mexico conduct its own review. Mexico agreed, and on July 6, 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 demonstrates the continued impact of the RRM. In accordance with its findings on this case and relevant legislation, Mexico will review the use of contrato ley across the rubber industry and disseminate materials on its application to the public.
Read the full course of remediation here.
Read an unofficial courtesy Spanish translation of the full course of remediation here.