Image credits: VU Manufacturing
News Article

VU Manufacturing Labor Complaint Adds to Four Others Under USMCA

By Antonio Gozain | Mon, 06/20/2022 - 17:02

Late last week, members of the democratic union of the League of Mexican Workers, also known as La Liga, presented a labor complaint under USMCA’s Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) against VU Manufacturing, arguing that the company seeks to impose a friendly union to support its interests in the auto parts plant in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. This is the fourth complaint pertaining to labor rights presented to the RRM in slightly over a year.

Under USMCA, Mexico committed to pass a comprehensive reform of its union law to strengthen workers’ rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. Through the RRM, USMCA enables the US and Canada to take action and investigate complaints of labor violations and impose trade sanctions to companies that violate the reform.

Recently, Mexico admitted two labor complaints presented to the US by independent union workers, against Panasonic Automotive and Teksid. The first resolution under USMCA’s RRM concluded successfully in Sep. 2021. It involved a General Motors’ plant in Silao, Guanajuato, where workers were allegedly being denied their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. Several months later, in May 2022, the winning union (SINTTIA) signed the first collective labor agreement with the automaker, as reported by MBN.

From the total four US labor complaints, three have been to automotive companies: General Motors in Silao, Tridonex and Panasonic in Reynosa. Teksid, located in Coahuila, is specialized in the metallurgical sector.

In the latest complaint, La Liga accused VU Manufacturing of inviting representatives of the Mexican Worker Confederation (CTM) to enter the plant and assume union representation without the consent of the workers, as reported by El Economista. CTM has been pointed to as a company-friendly organization.

La Liga presented its petition to the Border Committee of Workers (CFO), a non-profit organization that promotes labor and women’s rights in the Mexico-US border. VU Manufacturing workers have been organizing for months with La Liga to seek independent and democratic union representation in the plant to break the protection contract held by CTM, which “intimidates workers” and “undermines the independent organization,” said CFO through a press release.

“We are in times of reforms in favor of labor rights, not of continuing to repeat old practices,” said Julia Quiñónez, Director, CFO and advisor of La Liga.

VU Manufacturing workers said that they “hope to be heard and supported” in their “fair demands to exercise their rights to organize.” Workers are “unwilling to continue allowing their legitimate rights to be violated and we will get justice no matter the cost.”

Photo by:   VU Manufacturing
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst