Image credits: STPS
News Article

Mexico, US Met to Discuss USMCA Labor Standards

By Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 09/09/2021 - 20:06

Mexico’s Minister of Labor, Luisa Alcalde, met with the Deputy Minister of International Affairs of the US Secretary of Labor, Thea Lee, to discuss USMCA labor standards. The meeting comes almost a month after GM plant in Silao, Guanajuato, held an election on union representation.

"Both parties exchanged views on the fulfillment of labor commitments assumed under USMCA," said STPS on a statement. Mexico also highlighted the entry into force of its new Mexican labor justice enforcement system, which will report to the judicial branch of government rather than to the executive branch. On October 1, 13 more states will begin working under the new labor justice system, which aims to solve 80 percent of labor conflicts via conciliation rather than trial. Seven states have been working under this model from last year.

During the meeting, the Mexican Minister of labor highlighted the importance of joint efforts to meet USMCA labor standards. Lee acknowledged Mexico's efforts in creating institutions and strategies to achieve this goal. New labor standards gained the spotlight after some automotive suppliers and OEMs faced troubles in legitimizing union collective contracts. GM’s plant in Silao was the first instance of the US presenting a formal labor complaint against Mexico. The process that began when representatives discovered some irregularities in the voting process has not been solved yet.

In late August workers at the Silao plant voted against legitimizing their current union, which will open a new process to select a new union representation. The voting process also captured the attention of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which filed a report stating that the new voting process was a "total success." The former union leader of the Silao plant has claimed that the union can still argue for legitimate union representation.

The US also filed a labor compliant against Tier 2 automotive supplier Tridonex after unions brought the case to the US Department of Labor. US unions argue that “USMCA requires Mexico to end the reign of union protection and their corrupt deals with employers,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who argued that the company harassed employees that were publicly advocating for new union representation.

Photo by:   STPS
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst