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RFI | 9 July 2021
US, Mexico announce resolution of GM labor dispute under trade deal
The United States and Mexico on Thursday announced they had reached an agreement under the terms of a recently enacted trade deal to resolve a dispute over alleged wrongdoing in a union vote at a General Motors factory.
Washington had in May requested that Mexico investigate claims of "serious violations" of workers rights during the vote at a GM plant in Silao in the state of Guanajuato.
In their joint statement released by Washington, the countries said they’d agreed to a remediation plan under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which came into effect last year and governs trade between the three nations.
The agreement marked the first use of the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism and will see a new union vote held by August 20, the presence of Mexican government inspectors at the plant and the observation of the new vote by the the International Labor Organzization and a domestic observer group, the statement said.
Safeguards will also be put in place to respond to complaints from workers about the vote and sanction anyone whose conduct violates laws governing the elections.
"Reaching an agreement with Mexico on a remediation plan shows the USMCA’s potential to protect workers’ rights and the benefits of a worker-centered trade policy," US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.
"Our agreements must be more than words on a page, and the United States will use every avenue to protect workers and ensure that Americans compete on a level playing field."
The original complaint concerned a worker vote in April on whether to continue to recognize the union, an affiliate of the Confederation of Mexican Workers.
The Mexican government previously suspended the election following allegations the union destroyed unfavorable ballots and committed other chicanery, a move that Tai praised.