The Mexican and U.S. governments have announced a plan to resolve complaints from U.S. workers against an auto factory in northern Mexico attempting to steal union votes. The announcement is heartening, said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs promised to punish any abuse of voting and hold a new poll at the General Motors plant in Silao City by August 20 and provide inspectors. Voting will occur in the factory, not in the union office that allegedly tried to destroy the ballot.

Starting next week, inspectors from the Ministry of Labor will enter the factory to avoid intimidation tactics, and observers from the International Labor Organization will also enter.

It was uncertain, however, if those assurances would be sufficient. Workers at the plant have criticized the old Confederation of Mexican Workers union has already tried tactics such as assurances and threats in speeches to shop stewards or presenting to raffle off cars to win the vote.

Brown said the statement would also make up for GM’s preliminary denial of the factory’s workers’ right to free association and combined bargaining. The first remedial course results from the worker empowerment clauses obtained by Brown and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden through their rapid response mechanism as part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It reflects the United States and Mexico believes that trade should benefit workers.

For decades, Ohioans have seen factories shuttered and their jobs shipped overseas because of trade policies that put corporations first. I wrote the Brown-Wyden provision to deliver results for American workers, and that’s what it’s doing,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown and Wyden stated that they fought for and succeeded in obtaining a major clause for the first time as part of the T-MEC, allowing workers to file lawsuits alleging labor violations at the facility level. The new agreement allows workers in Mexico to report when the company violates their rights.

If it is determined that the workers’ rights have been violated, they can see action within a few months. If these anti-worker strategies continue, if the company prevents workers from organizing and preventing goods from entering the United States, it will also apply punitive damages.

The rapid response mechanism under the trade agreement allows a group to determine whether Mexico is implementing labor laws that allow workers to choose unions and vote on contracts and union leadership. If it is found that Mexico has not implemented its laws, it may invoke sanctions, including prohibiting certain products from entering the United States. The May complaint was the first to be filed under the USMCA.

Source: Youngstown Vindicator