Second USMCA Action Against Same US-Owned Maquiladora

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The US and Mexico today announced a course of remediation to address repeated denials of rights at a Troy Michigan-based VU Manufacturing’s automotive components facility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico three miles from the US border.

This announcement marks the third time the United States and Mexico have agreed on a formal course of remediation under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s (USMCA’s) Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM), and the second time for this facility.  

As we have reported, all USMCA Labor enforcement actions to date have involved US - owned factories violating Mexican labor law.

Mexico has concluded that workers at the facility are being denied their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Under the course of remediation, Mexico will, among other things: 

  • Initiate sanctions proceedings against individuals, labor organizations, or companies found to have violated Mexican law in connection with this matter;
  • Link the Administrative findings of violations with proceedings in Mexican courts by filing the evidence gathered and findings made during the Government of Mexico’s review of this matter with the courts;
  • Invite the local Judicial Power in Coahuila, as well as other judicial authorities from across the country, to participate in training on collective bargaining issues;
  • Ensure that complaints about anti-union threats and violence are properly investigated and addressed by the relevant authorities;
  • Conduct workers’ rights training at the Manufacturas VU facility and monitor the facility with regular inspections;
  • Ensure Manufacturas VU makes – and abides by – a public, written statement committing to respect the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining;
  • Ensure U.S.-based company executives visit the facility to further assure workers of these commitments;
  • Ensure the company takes appropriate action – including termination – against human resource staff found to have violated workers’ rights;
  • Ensure the company restructures its human resources department with new personnel who commit to not discriminate or engage in favoritism among unions; and
  • Ensure the company will not impede La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana’s (LSOM’s) attempts to restore or exercise their right to represent workers for purposes of bargaining at the facility

The agreed-upon deadline for remediation is September 30, 2023.

This is the second RRM action involving VU Manufacturing.  In June 2022, LSOM and CFO filed a separate RRM petition concerning this facility, and in July 2022, the United States Trade Representative invoked the RRM by requesting Mexico conduct its own review.  Mexico subsequently found a denial of rights had occurred, but had been successfully remediated by the time of Mexico’s report. 

Remediation included a free and fair vote for representation at the facility, which LSOM won.  USTR announced the successful resolution of that matter on September 14, 2022.   Labor conditions deteriorated after that point, leading to the second petition, second request for review, and the course of remediation being announced today. 

VU Manufacturing’s primary focus the cut and sew of “soft trim” vinyl products and assemblies for the Automotive, Marine, and Medical industries.

 

USMCA Maquiladora