UPDATE 1-GM workers in Mexico defeat union in first test of US trade deal


Source: Yahoo! Finance

MEXICO CITY, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Workers at a General Motors pickup plant in the central Mexican city of Silao have voted to scrap their collective contract, opening the door for them to oust one of Mexico’s largest labor organizations as their union in a historic move.

The vote marked the first test of labor rules under a new trade deal that replaced the 1994 North American Free Agreement (NAFTA), with a series of safeguards agreed by Mexico and the United States to ensure a fair vote.


US files first trade complaint against Mexico over tampered union vote at GM plant


Source: The Hill

The United States filed its first labor complaint against Mexico under the United States- Mexico- Canada Agreement (USCMA) on Wednesday over alleged tampering with union votes at a General Motors plant in Mexico.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai invoked a “rapid response” mechanism under the pact, which allows for expedited enforcement of collective bargaining and free association rights.

The complaint takes issue with a vote of approval last month for a collective bargaining agreement between GM’s Mexico Division and the “Miguel Trujillo López” union.


GM to invest $691 million in Mexican operations

iStock_000008876270MediumReuters, 6/26/2013

General Motors Co outlined plans on Wednesday for investing $691 million to expand its Mexican operations, including the previously unannounced expansion of its Toluca engine plant. The plans include a new factory in Silao in central Mexico to build 8-speed transmissions and an upgrade to an existing factory in San Luis Potosi that will make next-generation transmissions, GM Mexico President Ernesto Hernandez said.

With numerous free trade agreements, a cheap, well-educated labor force, and proximity to the lucrative U.S. auto market, combined with growing demand in South America, automakers have been lining up for two years to set up shop or expand in a country that some analysts believe could eventually overtake Brazil as Latin America’s biggest economy. “The automotive sector is today one of the pillars of the national economy, representing more than 20 percent of manufacturing GDP and continues to be, for many reasons, a fundamental industry in attracting investments to productive sectors of the economy,” Hernandez said at a press conference in Mexico City with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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Adios Motor City: How Mexico is becoming the world’s best place to make cars

iStock_000008876270MediumQuartz, 5/9/2013

Mexico’s auto production has taken a big leap since NAFTA. The country now accounts for roughly 20% of North American light vehicle production, according to a report this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, compared with a 6% share in 1990. The country’s cars aren’t only traveling north. Mexico has become the world’s fourth-largest auto exporter an important global auto exporter, and it’s a good market to be in: Climate change and rising gas prices have trimmed margins on automobile sales and prompted a global shift among automakers to more efficient production hubs. Automakers from all around the world are flocking to Mexico to capitalize on the country’s low production costs and export-friendly environment.

The cars that roll off Mexico’s assembly lines are traveling far and wide; Only 63% of Mexican-made cars are exported to the US, and 45% of the exports are made by automakers with headquarters in Asia and Europe. “Mexico is becoming one of the best places to manufacture cars,” said Audi Chief Communication Officer Joe Jacuzzi. How did that happen?

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‘Green Revolution’ research center in Mexico gets money from Gates, Slim for GM seeds

Environment -Climate change and apaptation -- dry groundThe Washington Post, 2/13/2013

The research center largely responsible for launching the “green revolution” of the 1960s that dramatically raised crop yields is getting support from the world’s richest men to develop genetically-modified seeds to help farmers in the developing world grow more grain in the face of a changing climatic conditions and increased demand.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim donated a total of $25 million to build a new cluster of biotechnology labs at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico. The facilities include hothouses “with high-efficiency air particle filters and a water treatment plant to prevent pollen and genetically modified material from escaping to the outdoors,” according to a statement by the billionaires’ foundations.

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US auto ills travel south to Mexico

Associated Press, 12/26/2008

Ford Fusion Hybrid - Sam VarnHagen/Ford Motor Co
Ford Fusion Hybrid - Sam VarnHagen/Ford

The U.S. auto bailout lifts the threat of imminent collapse from plants that have been a steady source of jobs in Mexico. But the rescue, backed by American taxpayers, is likely to slow investment in Mexico’s auto industry, one of the fastest growing in the world.

Lured by low labor costs, Detroit’s automakers have been critical to an industry that now makes up 3 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product and accounts for a fifth of its exports. The 13 plants run by Ford, Chrysler and GM account for more than 50 percent of Mexico’s auto production.

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GM to temporarily close Mexico plants (in Spanish)

La Jornada, 12/12/2008

Automaker General Motors announced this Friday that it will be cutting 30% of its vehicle production and will temporarily close the majority of its North American plants, including three in Mexico. The measure is part of the company’s effort to obtain federal funds to help it survive, after the Senate rejected the financial rescue initiative that was being negotiated for the automaker industry.

The plants affected in Mexico are Ramos 2 in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila; Silao, Guanajuato; and in San Luis Potosi.

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