US report, a labor alert for Mexico

Note published in El Economista, Empresas [Companies] Section by María del Pilar Martínez.
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The report shows the “high expectations” that the neighboring country has on the Mexican reform: specialists.

The first report issued by the Independent Mexico Labor Expert Board (IMLEB) on the implementation of the labor reform and compliance with the labor chapter of the USMCA is an “alert” for the Mexican government, for companies and unions because, despite the acknowledgment of certain progress, it points out the shortcomings for achieving a true union freedom and seeks to promote a greater union activism with their own resources.

Interviewed separately, labor specialists such as Graciela Bensunsán, of the UAM-Xochimilco, who is also a member of the rapid response group on labor maters between Mexico and the United States, said that “it is a biased report” and its conclusions show the high expectations that exist in the United States on the changes that Mexico has undertaken, “and that it should be clear that they will not happen overnight.”

Nevertheless, she acknowledged that the Mexican government has to communicate the processes that have been implemented in 18 months “there are still dark areas”; therefore, it is important that if situations that do not fulfill the commitment made by Mexico in Annex 23 and in the Federal Labor Law are detected, then the right course is to move forward as quickly as possible. There is no need to give reasons for the United States to have such a distorted view, ”she said.

While the Department of Labor and Social Welfare informed that they are analyzing the document, specialists are concerned about the demands made on our country in regard to all labor processes: “Above all because they are placing whole industries under the magnifying glass, industries in which they are even talking of allocating their own budget – 180 million dollars – in order to promote independent unionism”, stated Óscar de la Vega, founding partner of De la Vega & Martínez Rojas.

A very serious matter, pointed out De la Vega, is that they clearly see “conducting trans-border unionization campaigns with unions in Mexico and in the United States” as a way to promote freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The foregoing, under the reasoning that there are unions in both countries that have similar issues and, in some cases, even the same employer: “This means that in the short term we will see large American union organizations pushing unionization campaigns in the eight sectors that they have clearly identified, such as: aerospace, automotive-auto parts.”

American unions in Mexico?

In this regard, Graciela Bensunsán said that “there is an insistence – by the members of the Board – that funds be provided to Mexico for the creation of independent unions; we did not see that in the USMCA, and I know its contents in depth, as well as the rapid response labor mechanism and in no place does it say that the US will provide resources to form unions in Mexico,”

The specialist pointed out that the support or resources that the United States can assign can be in the area of providing support to the implementation processes “to monitor compliance with union freedom, collective bargaining and representativity; but not, and nowhere does it say, that their funds have to be allocated for the creation of independent unions.”