The USMCA allows the US to monitor the legitimation of collective bargaining agreements: expert

Note published in El Sol de México, Sociedad [Society] Section by Bertha Becerra.
Read the note in its original source

This applies to all companies, but there will be special emphasis on high-level export sectors such as the automotive, auto parts, aerospace and mining sectors.

The various provisions of the Protocol for the Legitimation of Collective Bargaining Agreements are directly related to the USMCA, particularly to the application of Annex 23-A and the monitoring by the United States authority on compliance with these acquired commitments.

“That is, there will be a greater vigilance of this process by our commercial partners”, stated labor lawyer, Héctor de la Cruz.

He said that, in recent days, the United States’ Committee of Experts in charge of said monitoring issued a series of recommendations, among which two are the most important ones:

  1. That the authority verifies and validates the consultation processes and that, even in the presence of a Notary, the Department of Labor and Social Welfare must participate in order to guarantee compliance with the formalities of the legitimation process of collective bargaining agreements.
  2. As there was no system for workers to express their unconformity with the procedure and/or its result, this is now formalized in order to allow them to file their complaints before the authority.

Lawyer De la Cruz explained to El Sol de México the details, the relevant points of this agreement by the STPS which entered into force on February 5.

The specialist in Labor Law pointed out that it applies to all companies; “nevertheless, there will be special emphasis on high-level export sectors such as the automotive, auto parts, aerospace, call center and mining sectors, among others, which have been marked as priorities by the USMCA itself.”

With these additions, legitimations of collective bargaining agreements become more transparent and the Federal Labor Law and the United States Mexico Canada Free Trade Agreement will be fully complied with, he explained.

Among the relevant points, he mentioned that the union must provide the list of workers who have a right to cast their vote. This list must include, as a minimum; the full name and the CURP [Personal Population Registry Code] of every worker with the right to vote.

Likewise, the union must take into account the particular cases that workers may have because of income and termination matters registered on the date of the call.

He noted that the STPS reserves the right to review the procedure before, during or after it is conducted. In the same manner, it must publish the results and save them in order for them to be reviewed in accordance with the Protocol’s guidelines, regardless of whether the consultation was made in the presence of a certifying public officer.

The labor expert from the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm emphasized that workers protected by a collective bargaining agreement will be able to express their unconformity before the STPS in cases in which voting security, transparency, reliability and certainty are violated or in which the right of workers to cast their vote in a personal, free, direct, secret, peaceful, agile and safe manner is affected.

He pointed out that complaints or claims can be filed from the time of publication of the call and up to 5 working days after the last action or event related to the consultation.

And the authority must review and analyze the claims by conducting an investigation and requesting further information from the parties and always protecting the anonymity of the persons who expressed their claim.

If no significant problem is found and the result of the consultation is favorable, the collective bargaining agreement will be considered as being legitimated 20 working days after the notice of the results is published by the union, said De la Cruz.