United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Teklas Automotive facility in Aguascalientes, which manufactures automotive parts, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
This request for review encompasses all actions taken by the company to intervene in organizing efforts by, or to prevent workers from organizing for, La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana (LSOM), including dismissing the LSOM organizers for their union activity, and any other action taken to remove LSOM from the facility.
This request for review also encompasses all actions taken by the company showing favoritism for the La Confederación de Trabajadores de México (CTM), including encouraging workers to affiliate with CTM through threats and other means, and providing CTM access to the facility.
The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the fourteenth time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Headquartered in Turkey, and with locations in Bulgaria, Serbia, Mexico, and China, Teklas recently announced plans to open a plant in Calhoun, Georgia.
“Once again, we are utilizing the RRM to address a serious violation of workers’ rights -- an employer terminating workers for engaging in union activity,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Today’s action underscores the United States’ unceasing commitment to using the tools established in the USMCA to protect workers’ rights to organize for and join the union of their choice. We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve the issues present in this matter.”
“Mexican law offers robust protections on the right to form unions. Today's decision sends a strong message to employers that dismissals in retaliation for protected union activity will not be tolerated,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with the Mexican government in addressing these issues.”
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC). On August 24, 2023, the ILC received an RRM petition from La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana (LSOM), an independent Mexican union, and the International Lawyers Attending Workers Network (ILAW Network). The petition alleged that Teklas threatened and dismissed workers in retaliation for undertaking union organizing activity. The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC determined that there is sufficient, credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms. As a result, the United States Trade Representative has submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico review whether workers at the Teklas Automotive 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.
A copy of the request for review can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.