Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Mexico, US announce plan for worker rights at Goodyear SLP plant

Mexico and the United States have agreed on a “course of remediation” to address a situation at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company plant in San Luis Potosí in which workers’ rights have been denied.

The announcement on Wednesday of the “plan to remediate denials of rights” came almost two months after the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) asked Mexico to investigate a claim from independent union La Liga that Goodyear — an Ohio-based company — had been abusing workers’ rights at its plant in San Luis Potosí city.

goodyear employees in Mexico
Employees, who voted to terminate their bargaining contract with Goodyear earlier this year, said that their union had not followed workers’ wishes. (Government of Mexico)

Announcing the plan, the USTR noted that it had asked Mexico to “review whether Goodyear was failing to provide workers with the beneficial terms of an existing sector-wide agreement (contrato ley) in place for the rubber manufacturing industry.”

“Mexico accepted the request and concluded that workers at the facility are being denied their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining,” the USTR said in a statement.

The agreed “course of remediation” — reached in accordance with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism — consists of 11 different points.

According to the USTR statement, the government of Mexico will:

Goodyear factory
The agreement lists many requirements, including that the Government of Mexico will conduct in-person workers’ rights trainings with employees. (Goodyear)
  • Ensure that Goodyear distributes copies of and applies the sector-wide agreement (contrato ley) at its San Luis Potosí plant.
  • Ensure that Goodyear continues to apply any and all wages and benefits currently provided to covered workers that are superior to the terms of the contrato ley.
  • Ensure that Goodyear adequately compensates covered workers for any wages or benefits they didn’t receive as a result of Goodyear’s failure to apply the contrato ley.
  • Ensure that Goodyear posts, disseminates to workers, and abides by a public statement acknowledging its commitment to respect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining and affirming its neutrality and noninterference in union activities.
  • Ensure that Goodyear issues transparent guidelines explaining the rights it will provide to union representatives and advisors and trains all company personnel on the company guidelines and neutrality commitments, as well as the rights to collective bargaining, freedom of association, and the contrato ley.
  • Ensure that Goodyear posts information about how workers can file complaints with the company and the Government of Mexico related to violations of their rights.
  • Inform workers of the reasons that led the Government of Mexico to determine there is an ongoing denial of rights at the facility, as well as the scope and content of the Course of Remediation.
  • Conduct in-person workers’ rights training for all company personnel.
  • Monitor the facility to ensure compliance with the course of remediation and Mexican laws related to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • If warranted based on this monitoring, initiate sanctions proceedings, in accordance with Mexican law, and if applicable, impose the corresponding sanctions on persons, labor organizations, or the company.
  • Publish and disseminate materials that explain key issues related to the rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including the law related to and existence of contrato ley, to increase public awareness on the rights of workers and the responsibilities of employers, particularly at facilities covered by a contrato ley.

The course of remediation is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 19, 2024, according to the agreement between Mexico and the United States.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that the course of remediation is “aimed at remedying violations of workers’ rights at the Goodyear facility.”

“The United States will closely monitor the plan’s implementation. I commend the government of Mexico for its commitment to bringing this facility into compliance with Mexico’s labor law and for raising awareness of the applicability of the contrato ley across the sector,” she added.

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai
United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Katherine Tai Twitter

Mexico’s Economy Ministry and Labor Ministry said in a joint statement that Goodyear “cooperated fully” with Mexican and U.S. authorities during a review of its San Luis Potosí plant, and affirmed its commitment to labor and union rights including those to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The USTR noted that the bilateral Goodyear plan “marks the fourth time the United States and Mexico have agreed on a formal course of remediation” under the USMCA’s Facility-Specific Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM).

“This course of remediation is the result of the commitment of the U.S. and Mexican Governments to workers’ rights. It represents a success for the workers in the facility and demonstrates the continued impact of the RRM,” it said.

Mexico News Daily  

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