United States Requests Second Ever USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism Dispute Settlement Panel

April 16, 2024

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the United States has, for the second time, requested a Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) panel under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The panel pertains to a labor dispute at a facility operated by Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. in the city of Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo. 
Today’s announcement follows a request the United States sent to Mexico on January 18, 2024 asking Mexico to review whether workers at Atento Servicios were being denied the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. 
In seventeen RRM cases to date, the United States and Mexico have been able to cooperate to successfully address labor rights violations at the Mexican facilities in question. We were not able to do so in this matter, however, and the United States therefore has determined that it is appropriate to request a panel to verify the facility’s compliance with Mexican labor laws.

“Our panel request reflects our unceasing commitment to utilize the RRM to protect workers’ rights and ensure fairness for workers,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “The RRM is a proven, critical instrument for defending the free exercise of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.  We remain open to collaborating with the Government of Mexico to find a resolution in this matter and deliver a just outcome for all workers involved.”

"Today’s panel request reflects our commitment to using every tool available in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to protect workers’ rights, including the right to freedom of association,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Labor Affairs Thea Lee. “Pursuing a panel in this case indicates the seriousness of the issues involved. We welcome working with Mexico to resolve this dispute and provide remedy to Atento’s call center workers.”


The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On December 18, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana. The petition alleged that Atento Servicios interfered in union activity, including by threatening and dismissing workers in retaliation for undertaking union organizing activity. The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC, in response to the petition, determined that there was sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the United States Trade Representative submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico review whether workers at a facility in Pachuca operated by Atento Servicios were being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Mexico had ten days to decide whether to accept the U.S. request for review and, having agreed to do so, 45 days to complete the review.
At the conclusion of its 45-day review period, Mexico found a denial of rights had existed, but determined that Atento Servicios had taken the necessary actions to remediate the denial of rights during Mexico’s review period. The United States disagrees with this determination and is therefore requesting establishment of an RRM panel to review the situation.
A copy of the panel request can be found here.