United States and Mexico Announce Plan to Remediate Denials of Rights at Manufacturas VU Facility

March 31, 2023

WASHINGTON – The United States and Mexico today announced a course of remediation to address denials of rights at the Manufacturas VU automotive components facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.  This announcement marks the third time the United States and Mexico have agreed on a formal course of remediation under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA’s) Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM).

Today’s announcement follows a request the United States sent to Mexico on January 30, 2023, asking Mexico to review whether Manufacturas VU was interfering in workers’ union activities.  Mexico accepted the request and concluded that workers at the facility are being denied their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

“Through concrete, measurable commitments, this course of remediation seeks to remedy serious violations of workers’ rights at the Manufacturas VU facility,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “The harm from these violations is ongoing, which is why the United States will closely monitor the plan’s implementation .  I want to thank the Government of Mexico for its commitment to workers’ rights and to bringing this facility into compliance with Mexico’s labor law.”

The course of remediation provides a holistic plan for addressing the violations of Mexican law at the facility, and it includes elements aimed at preventing future violations both at Manufacturas VU and at other facilities. 

“The Biden-Harris administration remains steadfast in addressing denials of labor rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and to achieving sustainable 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 to remedy a denial of workers’ rights at VU, including taking the important step of initiating sanctions proceedings to deter future violations. This will send a strong message beyond this facility.”

Under the course of remediation, Mexico will, among other things:

  • Initiate sanctions proceedings against individuals, labor organizations, or companies found to have violated Mexican law in connection with this matter;
  • Link the Administrative findings of violations with proceedings in Mexican courts by filing the evidence gathered and findings made during the Government of Mexico’s review of this matter with the courts;
  • Invite the local Judicial Power in Coahuila, as well as other judicial authorities from across the country, to participate in training on collective bargaining issues;
  • Ensure that complaints about anti-union threats and violence are properly investigated and addressed by the relevant authorities;
  • Conduct workers’ rights training at the Manufacturas VU facility and monitor the facility with regular inspections;
  • EnsureManufacturas VU makes – and abides by – a public, written statement committing to respect the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • Ensure U.S.-based company executives visit the facility to further assure workers of these commitments;
  • Ensure the company takes appropriate action – including termination – against human resource staff found to have violated workers’ rights;
  • Ensure the company restructures its human resources department with new personnel who commit to not discriminate or engage in favoritism among unions; and
  • Ensure the company will not impede La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana’s (LSOM’s) attempts to restore or exercise their right to represent workers for purposes of bargaining at the facility

The agreed-upon deadline for remediation is September 30, 2023.

The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On December 29, 2022, the ILC received a RRM petition from two Mexican labor organizations, LSOM and Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO).  The petition alleged that workers at the Manufacturas VU automotive components facility in Piedras Negras were being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining. 

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 January 30, 2023, the United States Trade Representative submitted to Mexico a request that Mexico conduct its own review.  Mexico agreed, and on March 16, 2023, concluded there are ongoing denials of the right of 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 is the second RRM action involving Manufacturas VU.  In June 2022, LSOM and CFO filed a separate RRM petition concerning this facility, and in July 2022, the United States Trade Representative invoked the RRM by requesting Mexico conduct its own review.  Mexico subsequently found a denial of rights had occurred, but had been successfully remediated by the time of Mexico’s report. 

Remediation included a free and fair vote for representation at the facility, which LSOM won.  USTR announced the successful resolution of that matter on September 14, 2022.    Unfortunately, labor conditions deteriorated after that point, leading to the second petition, second request for review, and the course of remediation being announced today.  This course of remediation is necessary to restore freedom of association and collective bargaining rights at the facility, and demonstrates the utility of the RRM, which can respond to changes in labor conditions quickly and effectively. 

Read the full course of remediation here.

Read an unofficial courtesy Spanish translation of the full course of remediation here.