VW Mexico Target of USMCA Complaint


The United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Volkswagen de México, S.A. de C.V. facility in Cuautlancingo, Puebla, are being denied their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

This request,  made in response to a petition delivered by former Volkswagen workers, marks the twenty-third time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the fifth time in 2024.

The petition alleges Volkswagen de México dismissed these workers in retaliation for union activity they conducted while serving as union representatives.

Volkswagen Mexico employs 13,000 workers in its main plant in Puebla. Since 1972, VW workers are represented by the Independent Union of Volkswagen (Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores Volkswagen; SITIAVW)

“We are deeply concerned by the alleged violations of freedom of association at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, especially given its historic place in Mexico’s economy and its independent trade unionism movement. Retaliation against workers for their union activities is unacceptable and violates the fundamental rights protected under the USMCA,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We are committed to working with the Mexican government to investigate these matters thoroughly and to ensure that VW workers’ essential rights are upheld.”  

Mexican wages vs. US

Union autoworkers at the Puebla plant ranged between $15 and $48 a day in 2022 according to Reuters.  The average US autoworker earned about $28 an hour ($144/day) in 2023 according to BLS data..

Mexico’s automotive workforce has grown seven-fold since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994,    while wages, benefits, and working conditions continue to fall behind, according to the United Auto Workers.

A copy of the request for review can be found here.
A copy of the letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.


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