The “Transformación Sindical” union on Feb. 2 filed a petition under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism provision against Unique Fabricating Inc. The union alleged the company refused to grant it access to a facility in Querétaro and obstructed organizing efforts.
In Mexico, unions with alliances with employers have helped to keep wages down for decades, attracting investments and draining manufacturing jobs from the United States. The allegations include the use of “protection contracts” that often set employer-friendly contract terms before input from any workers at the site.
After reviewing the petition, the USMCA’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement co-chaired by the U.S. Labor Department and U.S. Trade Representative requested Mexico investigate the claims. It’s the committee’s seventh request under the provision in the agreement signed into law in 2020 by former President Donald Trump that allows U.S. enforcement against single Mexican factories that violate domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.
Mexico’s government has 10 days to agree to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and to present its findings.
Unique Fabricating supplies components for the automotive, industrial off-road, appliance and medical industries. In addition to Querétaro, it has production and warehouse facilities in Michigan, Georgia and Kentucky, as well as in London, Ontario, and in Monterrey, Mexico.
An email was sent to a company representative Monday evening requesting a response to the request for the probe.
Previous actions under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism have proved fruitful. A probe into a General Motors Co. truck plant in Mexico resulted in a breakthrough chance for workers to vote on union representation in 2021, securing an 8.5% wage increase in May 2022. And last year, Stellantis NV parts subsidiary Teksid Hierro de México agreed to recognize an independent labor union and rehire with back pay a few dozen workers who reportedly were fired in retaliation for supporting the Miners union.
Source: The Detroit News