05/31/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/31/2023 13:40
For the fourth time in 2023, and the ninth 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 today announced that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at a Draxton facility in Irapuato, Guanajuato are being denied the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. The self-initiated request marks the ninth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the second time to do so as a self-initiated action.
"This second self-initiated request under the USMCA shows that the Biden-Harris Administration is laser-focused on using trade to empower workers," said Ambassador Katherine Tai. "The RRM is an effective enforcement tool to ensure that workers at the Draxton facility can freely exercise their rights without intimidation, harrassament, or the fear of retribution. We look forward to working with the Government of Mexico to promptly address these concerns."
"This is only the second time the United States has self-initiated a request for review under the Rapid Response Mechanism," said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. "We look forward to working closely with the Mexican government to protect union autonomy and workers' rights to union representation free from external interference."
In connection with the U.S. request, Ambassador Tai has also directed the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend the liquidation for all unliquidated entries of goods from the Draxton Irapuato facility.
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor, as co-chairs of the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement, engage with workers in Mexico and monitor their ability to exercise their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights. The United States received information appearing to indicate several serious denials of labor rights, including the terminiation of a union official and interference of related activities in order to control the union. When workers at the facility tried to organize a new union, led by the former official, they experienced harassment, surveillance, and intimidation and the former union official faced threats and violence at his house. Additionally, workers did not get their collective bargaining agreement before voting on it in 2022 and still have not received it. After conducting a thorough investigation, the United States decided to self-initiate a request.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative has submitted a request to the Government of Mexico to review whether those employed at the Draxton facility 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.
Information about previous requests can be found here.