United States Seeks Mexico's Review of Alleged Denial of Workers’ Rights at Industrias Peñoles Minera Tizapa

April 03, 2024


For the fourth time in 2024, and twenty-second 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 Minera Tizapa S.A. de C.V., in Zacazonapan, Mexico, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  The United States has suspended liquidation of tariffs on goods from the facility, a subsidiary of Industrias Peñoles, S.A.B. de C.V., which specializes in mining lead and other materials.  The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the twenty-second time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“By activating the rapid response mechanism, we are reaffirming workers’ rights to freely affiliate with the union of their choice and partake in union activities without discrimination or reprisals.  Today’s action unlocks the promise of the USMCA for workers who have been unlawfully dismissed, as well as those who fear that they will be next,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “We look forward to extending our collaboration with the Government of Mexico to address the ongoing denials of rights at this facility.”
“Actions preventing workers from being represented by the union of their choice are a direct attack on freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, fundamental under the USMCA and guaranteed in the 2019 Mexican labor law reform. We will continue to use the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism to root out those practices,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the government of Mexico to investigate these practices and to ensure appropriate remedies where violations are found.”

The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On March 4, 2024, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana (Los Mineros), an independent Mexican union.  The petition alleges Industrias Peñoles committed acts of employer interference in union affairs, by dismissing several workers in retaliation for their union activity and demonstrating favoritism toward the incumbent union, such as by paying a special bonus only to its affiliates.  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 Minera Tizapa are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  Mexico has 10 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.