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

05/13/2021

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.

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Mexico’s Workers Can Finally Choose Unions. Old Unions Are Pushing Back.

6/22/19 – New York Times

By Elisabeth Malkin

6-24-19-2

As an election to choose a union at a Mexican tire plant began one recent drizzly morning, a labor leader urged supporters to come out and vote: “You can relax,” he said over social media. “Your vote is free and secret.”

If he had emphasized the secrecy of the vote it was because, for decades, Mexican workers had little say in choosing the unions that signed contracts with employers in their name. Instead, governments granted their allies in the union movement control over labor.

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Mexican Senate passes labor bill, key to approving new NAFTA

4/30/2019 – Reuters

Capture.JPG
 REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Senate approved a bill to strengthen the rights of trade unions on Monday, one of the final steps toward enacting a law that Democratic U.S. lawmakers have insisted must pass before they can proceed to a vote on the revamped North American trade pact.

The bill, which was passed by the lower house earlier in April, enshrines the right of Mexican workers to organize and gives them more control over their contracts.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, had called on Mexico to enact the legislation, saying U.S. Congress could not even begin to take up the pact unless Mexico put the new law in place.

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U.S. Congress and AMLO may finally force labor reform in Mexico

4/26/2019 – Bloomberg

aerial-aerial-shot-agriculture-1595108By Nacha Cattan

Mrs. Martínez earns $79 for a six-day week working in the produce section of a Walmart in Mexico City. A labor union bargained with the retail giant to get her that salary, but she’s never met a representative. She didn’t want to be named for fear of reprisals, but she says she hasn’t even heard of the union.

“Bargaining” is a stretch to describe what the union actually did, which is more like rubber-stamping. The collective contract that covers Martínez’s store allows starting salaries around the minimum wage, which has fallen so far behind inflation that few in the capital actually work for it. Walmart Inc. pays dues on workers’ behalf.

That’s not how unions are meant to work. But in Mexico they do, and not by accident. Low pay has been central to the country’s economic strategy in the quarter-century since Nafta began, boosting its appeal as a cheap base for exports to the giant consumer market up north. Many businesses that took advantage of cheap Mexican labor were American, turning the wage gap into a bone of contention between the two countries. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, negotiated last year to replace Nafta, has more worker protections. But U.S. lawmakers—particularly House Democrats—insist on proof that Mexico is finally serious about boosting wages and threaten to block ratification of the deal until they get it. Mexico’s new labor-friendly president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, says he wants an economy that’s more driven by domestic demand anyway, which puts the unions in a political vise.

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Headlines from Mexico

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Week of April 1-5

1. #MeTooMúsicosMexicanos closes Twitter account after Vega-Gil’s suicide

The Twitter account #MeTooMúsicosMexicanos informed through a tweet that it decided to permanently close its platform. This account, like dozens more, was created in March to publish allegations of alleged abuse and sexual harassment in certain areas, in this particular case, in the musical space. The closing happened days after the suicide of Armando Vega-Gil, member of the band Botellita de Jerez, last Monday.

France 24, Excélsior, CNN

 

2. Fox & Friends’ “3 Mexican countries” goes viral

Sunday morning Fox & Friend’s applauded President Trump’s Saturday directive to cut aid to Central American countries by declaring, “Trump cuts aid U.S. aid to 3 Mexican countries.” The Fox News Network apologized for the headline.

Aristegui Noticias, Mashable, Excélsior

 

3. AMLO presents Cultural Project in Chapultepec, Mexico City

The federal government presented the cultural and environmental project that involved the former official residence of Los Pinos for its integration with the four sections of the Chapultepec forest, with the disincorporation of land from the Secretary of National Defense. A design that aims to integrate the eleven museums that already exist, the wooded and environmental spaces to turn it into one of the cultural and ecological centers of the world.

El Universal, La Jornada, El Sol de México

 

4. Labor reform is in fast track

To allow the entry into force of the T-MEC (USMCA), Congress will fast track the approval of the Labor Reform that requires all unions to guarantee their internal democracy. The decision was taken after Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House of Representatives of the United States, urged Mexico to approve this reform as a condition for the entry into force of the trade agreement. Mario Delgado, coordinator of the deputies of Morena, announced that it will be next week when it is approved.

El Heraldo de México, Noroeste, El Economista

 

5. A judge grants Congresspeople access to San Lazaro Palace

Judge Martín Adolfo Santos Pérez, head of the Eighth District Court on Administrative Matters, admitted the protection document proceeding filed by the coordinator of the PAN deputies, Juan Carlos Romero Hicks, with which he seeks to prevent the teachers of the Coordinating Committee National Education Workers (CNTE) block access to the San Lazaro legislative precinct.

MVS Noticias, Milenio, Excélsior

 

6. National Guard’s leader will be an active military officer

The president Andrés Manuel López Obrador revealed that the commander of the National Guard will be an active military man. During his morning conference, the Executive said that in the coming days the identity of who will be in charge of the National Guard will be announced.

Milenio, El Sol de México, Animal Político

 

Mexico senate approves labor law revisions

Los Angeles Times, 11/13/2012

Enrique Peña Nieto

Mexico’s senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would restrict workers’ rights to strike and relax hiring and firing rules for businesses.

The bill — passed after weeks of drama and debate — does not contain some of the original language that sought to reform the country’s notoriously sclerotic unions. Those measures were stripped out by members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, whose presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, won this year after promoting himself as a serious reformer, a claim his opponents now doubt more than ever.

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Reform in Mexico: Labour pains

The Economist, 11/30/2012

WALK into a restaurant in Mexico mid-morning and you will find a surplus of idle waiters. Return at lunchtime and you will find the same number of staff rushed off their feet. Like many Mexican businesses, restaurants are alternately over- and understaffed because the ancient labour laws restrict part-time work.

The labour code was last overhauled in 1970, and it shows. Mexico is the only country in Latin America where it is legal to sack a woman for being pregnant. Probationary periods are not recognised. The rigid rules are intended to protect workers. But they are so cumbersome that many smaller businesses ignore them, leaving workers with no rights at all. Mexico has one of the largest informal economies in Latin America. The World Bank reckons that less than 30% of workers pay into a pension (one indicator of formal employment), compared with nearly 60% in Brazil and Chile.

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Hourly wage in Mexico? Union members express fears of legislation

The Lost Angeles Times, 9/30/12

Mexico’s lower house of Congress has passed a major labor-reform law — the first changes in employment regulations in Mexico since 1970 — that would alter the way bosses and employees interact before, during and after a job…

The outgoing administration of President Felipe Calderon, which succeeded in passing the bill with help from the party of incoming President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, said the law would boost job rolls and competition in the labor market.

For union members, the measure — which is now on its way to Mexico’s Senate — would strip workers of what they called few relative benefits they enjoy under existing regulations, which they argue favor employers and large companies anyway.

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Mexico labor reform seeks to loosen hiring, union secrecy; workers say they will be the losers

The Washington Post, 9/25/12

Mexico’s main political parties agree that the country’s dysfunctional labor laws need to be retooled. What they don’t agree on is how, with a new proposal to loosen hiring and increase union democracy threatening to unleash a wave of labor unrest.

Advocates say the reform, which will allow part-time work, hourly wages and outsourcing, will help Mexico create the million new jobs per year it needs for young people and migrants returning from the United States. It is backed by both President Felipe Calderon, who submitted it to Congress this month, and President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.

Opponents say Mexico’s low wages in several industries already make its labor force more attractive than increasingly affluent countries like China and the last thing its workers need is a reform that would pare the meager benefits and job security they currently enjoy.

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Editorial: A luxury that the generation of no will not be able to give (in Spanish)

Ciro Gómez Leyva, Milenio, 4/6/2010

The calendar is inexorable.  As of today, nine sessions remain.  What will the senators and deputies do during this period for the Mexico’s future?  Little, it appears.  As things look, the best prediction would be:

• Approve the National Security Law that has been requested by the Mexican military in the past year.

• Advance the anti-kidnapping law, and possibly approve it after April 30th in a special session.

• Begin the discussion of the various projects of political reform … and possibly also complete it during the special session.

• Progress, or see what progress can be made, in the discussion of labor and fiscal reforms, which do not appear to have a path toward approval in April or the special session.  Bye, bye, see you in September.

• If the politcal work has really been done and they wove together all the agreements, the surprise would be the approval of the anti-monopoly law, sent yesterday by Calderon.

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