For the first time in 2024, and nineteenth 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 the Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. facilities in the city of Pachuca, state of Hidalgo, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Both Atento locations in Pachuca offer call center services to BBVA Mexico, a subsidiary of BBVA Group. The request marks the nineteenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the first time the United States has done so in the telecommunications sector.
“The USMCA ensures that workers can freely select the union of their choice without compromising their job positions or work conditions,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The United States maintains its ongoing commitment to using the RRM to support workers and to ensure that their rights of organizing and joining their preferred union are recognized and protected. We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve concerns that are present in this matter.”
“The U.S. government’s investigation revealed egregious employer conduct at the Hidalgo facility. This conduct constituted retaliation against workers for their union activities and interference with union organizing. This is unacceptable. The Mexican labor law reform and the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism were designed to address just this sort of violation,” 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 in this strategic sector.”
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 (STRM). The petition alleged that Atento interfered in union activities and unjustly dismissed workers for supporting STRM and as a retaliatory measure for engaging in organizing efforts. 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 Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. facilities 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.
Information about previous requests can be found here.