Employees at an auto plant in Mexico got some good news this week in their fight to organize.
Workers at the General Motors Silao plant in Mexico will vote for a new union contract again in August while the Mexican government has accepted the United States’ request to look into worker violations at Tridonex auto plant in Mexico.
The vote is the second attempt by workers after complaints that the first one in April was tainted by company interference via destroyed ballots. The Mexican government stated that it welcomed the U.S. government’s trip to probe into any labor issues at the plant.
“The Economy Ministry, in coordination with the Labor Ministry and other involved parties, will review the case to determine with legal elements and facts if there exists or not a denial of the referenced labor rights,” read the ministries statement, according to Reuters.
Tridonex is a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Cardone Industries Inc. located in the Mexican city of Matamoros, which is across the border from Brownsville, Texas. They make auto parts, a substantial portion of which are for the U.S. market. Cardone Industries Inc. answers to Brookfield Asset Management located in Toronto.
For the past two years, workers at Tridonex said they’ve been harassed and fired when they attempted to organize a union independent of the one foisted upon them by their employer, like the Mexican labor union called the Confederation of Mexican Workers.
Workers believe that these actions would rid themselves of the unions picked by the company.
This ended with the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Sindicato Nacional Independiente de Trabajadores de Industrias y de Servicios Movimiento 20/32 (SNITIS), and Public Citizen filing a complaint under the Rapid Response Mechanism of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).
It’s the first case ever filed under the USMCA.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that the latest development was positive news, but it’s only the beginning.
“This announcement of a remediation agreement is a major step forward in addressing the egregious violations of workers’ rights at the GM Silao plan,” stated Trumka. “Now, the Mexican government must deliver on its promise to punish the corrupt, sham ‘protection union’ agents who tried to steal the election last April and ensure a free and fair vote this August. USTR must hold Mexico accountable for fulfilling the terms of the settlement agreement or impose swift and severe penalties.”
Spokespeople at General Motors weren’t available for comment, but in a statement to Bloomberg the company said they’re okay with their Mexican employees organizing. A spokesperson said, “GM respects and supports the rights of our employees to make a personal, free, secret and direct response in regards to its union representation.”