WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Tridonex, a subsidiary of Cardone Industries, today announced an agreement to address allegations filed on behalf of employees at the Tridonex facility in Matamoros, State of Tamaulipas, that workers are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. This agreement is the second time USTR successfully used the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) to benefit workers, and the first in response to an RRM petition.
“Workers at home and abroad deserve the right to collectively bargain for a fair wage and decent working conditions without the fear of retaliation,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “The agreement reached with Tridonex to provide severance, backpay and a commitment to neutrality in future union elections shows our determination to leverage the USMCA’s innovative enforcement tools to address long-standing labor issues and support Mexico’s implementation of its recent labor reforms. This result is another important example of USTR’s worker-centered trade policy in practice and I commend the company and the Government of Mexico for working constructively to achieve this important outcome.”
The United States has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to using the USMCA’s robust mechanisms to ensure worker rights are protected, and USTR leveraged the agreement to help protect collective bargaining rights in Mexico.
“A worker’s right to choose a union that will represent his or her values and interests is fundamental to freedom of association,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The agreement reached today as a result of a USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition will put in place crucial safeguards to assure a fair process for determining the representative union at Tridonex. It also signals to workers here at home and around the world that the U.S. Government is committed to taking decisive steps to defend workers’ rights and ensure that the benefits of trade are enjoyed by all workers.”
Today’s action follows the request for review under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism that the United States sent to Mexico on June 9, 2021 following the filing of a petition by the AFL-CIO and other groups on May 10, 2021. As part of this agreement, Tridonex will, among other steps:
- Provide severance and 6 months of backpay, totaling a minimum of 9 months of pay per worker and in many cases much more, to at least 154 workers who were dismissed from the plant, for a total backpay amount of more than $600,000.
- Support the right of its workers to determine their union representation without coercion, including by protecting its workers from intimidation and harassment and welcoming election observers in the plant leading up to and during any vote;
- Provide training to all Tridonex workers on their rights to collective bargaining and freedom of association;
- Remain neutral in any election for union representation at its facility;
- Maintain and strengthen safety protocols to protect its workers from COVID-19 and financially support any employees who are unable to report to work due to COVID-19 exposure or infection;
- Revise its procedures and train its managers on fair workforce reduction procedures; and
- Maintain and staff an employee hotline phone number to receive and respond to complaints of violations of workers’ rights in the facility.
In addition to these commitments made by Tridonex, the Government of Mexico has agreed to help facilitate workers’ rights training for Tridonex employees, monitor any union representation election at the facility, and investigate any claims of workers’ rights violations reported by employees at the plant.
The commitments from Tridonex S. de R.L. de C.V. in the agreement are available here.