LatinNews Daily - 23 May 2023

MEXICO: US triggers investigation into labour rights at Goodyear plant

On 22 May US officials requested an investigation into alleged labour rights infringements at Mexico’s San Luis Potosí plant of US-firm Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Co, invoking the “rapid response mechanism” (RRM) under the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement.


The request for an investigation was made by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and followed an appeal by La Liga, a newly created independent Mexican trade union, which claimed that Goodyear employees at the plant in San Luis Potosí state were being denied benefits available to other workers in the rubber and tyre sector elsewhere in the country. Under the terms of the USMCA, which took effect in 2020, the Mexican authorities now have 10 days to initiate a labour rights review at the facility, and a further 45 days to investigate the substantive claims.

  • Last month a vote by Goodyear workers on whether to accept a new collective contract had to be suspended after allegations of vote-rigging by the long-established labour union, the Confederación de Trabajadores de Mexico (CTM), which, it was claimed, colluded with company management to steal a ballot box. A new vote was held earlier this month with employees overwhelmingly rejecting the proposed agreement.
  • This was seen as an important victory for La Liga, the recently-formed independent union, which is seeking to win recognition and to replace the CTM at the plant. The CTM is often accused of being a ‘sweetheart’ or ‘yellow’ union which tends to align itself with management rather than the interests of its members.
  • In a statement Goodyear said staff turnover at the company’s San Luis Potosí plant is low and that the wages it pays are “competitive”.

Looking Ahead: Both major US political parties, the Democrats and Republicans, have supported the observation of minimum labour standards in Mexico, not least because they believe low wages can be a threat to jobs in the US. With Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador seeking to align himself with working class voters, the likelihood is that independent labour unions will continue to gather strength.

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