For the fifth time in 2023, and tenth 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 today announced that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at an Industrias del Interior (INISA) garment facility in the state of Aguascalientes, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the tenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the first time the United States has done so in the garment sector.
“This announcement demonstrates again the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to using the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism to safeguard the rights of workers and the promises enshrined in the USMCA,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Today’s action highlights the United States’ focus in ensuring workers in all sectors have freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. As in previous matters, we look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to address the issues present in this case.”
“Employer interference in union internal affairs and coercion of workers to sidestep newly elected union leadership is unacceptable,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “The Mexican government has indicated its support for full implementation of the labor reform. Working together, we can address the issues in this case and protect the rights of workers.”
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 facility.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On May 12, 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, is committing acts of employer interference by coercing workers to accept the company’s proposed collective bargaining agreement revisions and intervening in the union’s internal affairs. The petition also alleged INISA is failing to bargain in good faith with the union. 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 the INISA 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.
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.