The USMCA exerts pressure on labor rights in Mexico

Note published on July 1 in El Sol de México, Finanzas [Finance] Section by Bertha Becerra.
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One year after the entry into force of the USMCA, Mexico feels the pressure from its partners through complaints filed for denial of rights.

One year after the entry into force of the USMCA, there are major changes in the commercial relationship with the United States and Canada, mostly positive. In the defense of labor rights, however, Mexico is already feeling the effects of the complaints being filed due to the denial of rights.

An example of the significant pressure exerted by the US government for Mexico to conduct the changes promised with the Labor Reform are the cases of General Motors in Silao and Tridonex in Matamoros, in the opinion of lawyer Héctor de la Cruz.

The specialist in Labor Law pointed out that a few days ago businessmen from the United States Chamber of Commerce expressed their concern over the speed with which the first complaints against Mexico were filed.

They claim that some complaints cover events that happened before the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico-the United States-Canada (USMCA), “and thus, this would be a retroactive application of the treaty and a violation of due process.”

The lawyer from the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm told EL SOL DE MÉXICO that the US businessmen also point out that the “Procedural Guide” rules for litigation are yet to be published and, therefore, there is a legal vacuum which causes processes to have a lack of foundation and clear rules for the States in dispute.

He emphasized that pressure is growing because of this, as Mexico must fully implement the reform no later than May 2023 “and the goal seems to be distant, since the rate of legitimated collective bargaining agreements is very low.”

According to the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), as of mid-June, 831 unions have already legitimated 1,297 collective bargaining agreements at the national level through consultation with over 350,000 workers.

However, there are around 580,000 collective bargaining agreements in existence at the national level.

Additionally, lawyer De la Cruz pointed out that due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new model for the administration of labor justice has not been tested under normal conditions and this creates uncertainty.

And, furthermore, he anticipated that there will be more complaints that will trigger litigation between the member countries of the USMCA.

He is also of the opinion that “Mexico has the possibility of filing complaints for labor discrimination against its nationals and reaching a balance for their rights to be respected inside and outside of the national territory.”

Undoubtedly, there are numerous challenges that Mexico will face to prevent the application of the USMCA from turning against it and for this treaty to truly become a tool for the improvement of the national economy and workers’ conditions.