WASHINGTON – The United States today announced the successful resolution of the eighth USMCA facility-specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) petition regarding the facility operated by Goodyear-SLP, S. de R.L. de C.V. in the city and state of San Luis Potosí, where workers were previously denied their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. In July 2023, the United States and Mexico agreed on a robust plan to address labor violations occurring at the facility related to the company’s failure to apply the sector-wide agreement for the rubber manufacturing industry (the contrato ley). That plan has now been implemented and the denial of rights concerns raised in our request for review have been remedied. As a result, USTR has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to resume liquidation of unliquidated entries of goods from the facility.
“Through the Rapid Response Mechanism, and the proactive approach taken by the Government of Mexico and Goodyear, workers at this facility have been paid over 4.2 million U.S. dollars in backpay, have independent union representation, and will receive the benefits of the sector-wide agreement for their industry, as well as additional agreements negotiated directly with the company going forward,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We commend the Government of Mexico and Goodyear for addressing the existing violations and Goodyear for participating in a good faith bargaining process with workers at this facility. We hope this case provides a model to other companies, including in the rubber sector, and that the sector-wide agreement will be enforced at other facilities across the rubber industry.”
“The transformation of labor relations at the San Luis Potosí Goodyear facility is remarkable,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “I first learned about the case in 2019 when Representative Rosa DeLauro called attention to the challenges workers faced trying to organize at the facility. It is a testament to the power of the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism and the dedication of the Government of Mexico, the Goodyear Corporation and the tenacious workers at Goodyear that we are seeing these historic outcomes. We look forward to seeing the union-management relationship mature and deepen at Goodyear San Luis Potosí – and throughout Mexico’s rubber industry as the sector-wide agreement is implemented throughout the country.”
Actions taken by the facility and the Government of Mexico to address the matter include:
- The Government of Mexico oversaw a free and fair vote at the facility that resulted in an independent union representing workers for purposes of bargaining and facilitation of the contrato ley;
- Goodyear paid 1,186 workers $4.2 million U.S. dollars in back wages and benefits owed under the contrato ley;
- Goodyear is now applying the contrato ley at the facility, while retaining any prior wages or benefits that exceeded the terms of the contrato ley;
- Goodyear bargained with the newly elected union, and the two parties agreed to several individual agreements on working hours and vacation periods, licenses for union representatives, productivity bonuses, salary ranges, and a payment system. The parties also committed to continuing negotiations for salary increases for the coming year;
- Goodyear adopted and posted a neutrality statement and company guidelines on freedom of association and collective bargaining, including a zero-tolerance policy for violations, and trained all company personnel on the guidelines and neutrality commitments;
- Goodyear established a complaint mechanism for workers to anonymously report any violations of their rights and breaches of company guidelines on freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- The Government of Mexico informed workers about its findings and the course of remediation, and delivered in-person trainings for company personnel on freedom of association and collective bargaining;
- The Government of Mexico monitored the facility, including by conducting periodic inspections, and engaged with the workers and employer throughout the implementation of the course of remediation;
- The Government of Mexico published and disseminated materials explaining key issues related to the rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including the law related to and existence of contrato ley, to increase public awareness on the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers, particularly at facilities covered by a contrato ley;
- The Government of Mexico agreed to review other companies in the rubber industry and their respective agreements to guarantee that workers receive any applicable benefits under the Federal Labor Law and the contrato ley.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On April 20, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from the independent Mexican union La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana (LSOM). The petition alleged that Goodyear SLP, which specializes in converting rubber into car tires, was not abiding by the provisions in the contrato ley covering the rubber industry and instead signed a facility-specific collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with benefits inferior to those in the contrato ley.
The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days. In response to the petition, 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 May 22, 2023, the United States Trade Representative submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico conduct its own review. Mexico agreed, and on July 6, 2023, concluded there were ongoing denials of rights related to freedom of association and collective bargaining at the facility. On July 19, 2023, the United States and Mexico announced a course of remediation to remediate the denials of rights. The end date of the course of remediation was January 19, 2024.
Read the full course of remediation here.
Read an unofficial courtesy Spanish translation of the full course of remediation here.
A copy of the letter to the Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.