© Sjankauskas/Dreamstime
Us Mexico Flags© Sjankauskas Dreamstime

US, Mexico Resolve Union Voting Dispute Under USMCA Rules

July 9, 2021
The U.S. asked its southern neighbor to investigate a union vote at a Mexican GM factory.

The United States and Mexico made a joint announcement July 8 that they had come to an agreement on unionization activity at a General Motors plant in Mexico. It’s the first time the USMCA’s rapid response labor mechanism has been invoked by any of the countries involved in the trade agreement.

The dispute hinged over a vote by workers at GM’S Silao, Mexico location to legitimize a collective bargaining agreement with an affiliate of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) union. The vote was on whether or not to continue allowing the CTM to continue controlling workers’ contracts.

After allegations that the union destroyed unfavorable ballots, Mexico suspended the election and in May, the United States asked them to investigate alleged violations of workers’ rights.

Under the new resolution, Mexico’s Labor Ministry, the STPS will oversee a new vote to be held August 20, with five times as many inspectors present to oversee and conduct random interviews of workers.  Joining them will be international observers from the International Labor Organization and domestic observers from Mexico’s National Electoral institute.

General Motors, for its own part, will issue a statement of neutrality.

U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai said the plan would enable workers to vote on continuing their collective bargaining agreement in free and democratic conditions. In a statement, Tai said the USMCA prevents trade from becoming “a race to the bottom” and commended the Mexican government for “taking swift action.”

“[Mexico’s] partnership was instrumental in addressing this issue and shows that our countries can continue working to strengthen our important trade and economic relationship,” she said.

According to Mexico’s Department of Labor, destroyed ballots from the original vote were found at the union’s offices, and workers alleged that GM had threatened workers they would lose their benefits for voting against the old union.

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!