U.S. Asks Mexico to Probe Alleged Union Vote Tampering at GM Plant
By Yuka Hayashi
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. is asking Mexico to review alleged
tampering of a union vote at a General Motors Co. truck factory
there, in the first use of a new labor-rule enforcement tool under
the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The U.S. made the request after receiving information "appearing
to indicate serious violations" of workers' rights during a recent
vote to approve a collective bargaining agreement at GM's Silao
assembly plant in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato,
according to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
GM didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The
Mexican embassy in Washington also didn't immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The move takes advantage of USMCA's labor-dispute settlement
enforcement tool called Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, which makes
it easier for the U.S. to bring complaints against specific
facilities in Mexico.
The action reflects the Biden administration's "serious
commitment to workers and a worker-centered trade policy," Ms. Tai
Ms. Tai played a role in formulating the USMCA in her former job
as chief trade counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee. She
has said a priority is enforcing the rules of USMCA, the trade pact
that succeeded the North American Free Trade Agreement and was
signed into law by former President Donald Trump with bipartisan
Several House Democratic lawmakers had recently written to GM
Chief Executive Mary Barra to address the alleged violation
involving two sparring unions at the Silao plant.
The lawmakers, led by Rep. Dan Kildee (D., Mich.), alleged that
the vote by the plant's workers was tampered with by members of a
rival, pro-employer union through steps such as limiting voting
hours and destroying unfavorable ballots.
U.S. government officials say the latest action complements the
Mexican government's ongoing investigation of the alleged abuse at
the plant. But if the two governments subsequently fail to agree on
the resolution of the issue, the U.S. may request the establishment
of a USMCA panel to review the case and subsequently impose a
penalty such as a tariff on the vehicles imported into the U.S.
The importers of the vehicles will now be notified of the
possibility of the imposition of a tariff, depending on the outcome
of the dispute.
Earlier this week, U.S. and Mexican labor groups said they filed
a complaint against a Mexican auto-parts manufacturer, alleging
that it violated the USMCA by suppressing its workers' rights to
The manufacturer is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Cardone
Industries Inc., which said it doesn't believe the allegations in
the complaint are accurate and would welcome a full inquiry.
Write to Yuka Hayashi at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 12, 2021 08:54 ET (12:54 GMT)
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