By Yuka Hayashi 

WASHINGTON -- The Mexican Labor Ministry said it is invalidating a union vote at a General Motors Co. truck factory, after the U.S. asked for a review under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

The Labor Ministry said late Tuesday that it found enough irregularities to invalidate the vote at GM's Silao assembly plant in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato and ordered the union to conduct another within 30 days in a process that guarantees workers a free and secret vote "without coercion or intimidation."

The U.S. said that it requested a review after receiving information "appearing to indicate serious violations" of workers' rights during a recent vote to approve a collective bargaining agreement.

The U.S. sought the review under the 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," according to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his nation was committed to complying with the terms of USMCA.

"So, if in a company that exports to the United States there is mistreatment of workers, if fair wages are not being paid, if there's no democracy, that must be addressed," he said in a statement provided by the Mexican embassy in Washington.

GM has retained a third-party firm to review the situation and will cooperate with the U.S. and Mexican governments, a spokeswoman said.

"As a company, we respect and support the rights of our employees to make a personal choice about union representation and any collective bargaining on their behalf," she said.

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.

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 unionize.

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.

Anthony Harrup contributed to this article.

Write to Yuka Hayashi at yuka.hayashi@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 12, 2021 13:45 ET (17:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.