United States Seeks Mexico's Review of Alleged Denial of Workers’ Rights at Tecnología Modificada S.A. de C.V. Caterpillar Facility

October 26, 2023

For the eleventh time in 2023, and sixteenth 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 Tecnología Modificada S.A. de C.V., in Nuevo Laredo, a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  The facility produces remanufactured automotive parts.  The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the sixteenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“Workers are entitled to organize for and select the union of their choice without retaliation or interference from their employer,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “Today’s action demonstrates the United States’ steadfast commitment to using the RRM to safeguard workers’ exercise of these fundamental rights.  We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve the issues present in this matter.”

“We take very seriously the allegations of employer interference in union activities in this case, including the firing of a worker for organizing. These acts undermine workers’ rights and the development of free and independent unions. The Mexican Labor Reform and the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism were designed to address exactly this type of incident,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We look forward to working closely with the government of Mexico to find solutions to these issues and build on our positive track record.”

The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On September 25, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from Sindicato Nacional Independiente de Trabajadores de Industrias y Servicios “Movimiento 20/32” (SNITIS), an independent Mexican union.  The petition alleged that the Caterpillar facility dismissed a worker in retaliation for undertaking union organizing activity.  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 Caterpillar 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.