© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai speaks in Brasilia, Brazil March 8, 2023. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
By Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at a Draxton facility in the Mexican city of Irapuato were being denied the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday.
Since the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement on trade, known as the USMCA, took effect in 2020, USTR has launched a number of labor rights complaints against facilities in Mexico, including cases that have paved the way for new unions to secure better pay and benefits.
The U.S. had received information that hinted at the denial of labor rights including the termination of a union official and interference to control the union at the facility of Draxton, which is a manufacturer of cast and machined components with presence in automotive markets.
When workers at the facility tried to organize a new union, led by the former official, they allegedly experienced intimidation, according to the USTR office.
Tai has asked the Mexican government to review the matter under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM). Mexico has ten days to agree to conduct a review and, if it agrees, 45 days from Wednesday to complete the review, the USTR office said.
“The RRM is an effective enforcement tool to ensure that workers at the Draxton facility can freely exercise their rights without intimidation, harassment, or the fear of retribution,” Tai said on Wednesday.