WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement today requested a review by the Mexican government of the committee’s finding workers’ rights were denied at a Volkswagen assembly plant in Puebla, Mexico. The request follows an April 25, 2024, petition filed by 10 fired workers who allege Volkswagen Mexico violated the workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights at the plant, the country’s largest and longest operating auto factory.Filed under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, the petition asserts the wrongful dismissal of 10 members of the outgoing leadership committee of the Independent Union of Workers of the Automotive, Similar and Related Industries Volkswagen de Mexico — or Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores de Industria Automotriz, Similares y Conexos Volkswagen de México — after a recent union election.  “We are deeply concerned by the alleged violations of freedom of association against 10 union members at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla given its historically important role in Mexico’s economy and the nation’s independent trade union movement. Retaliating against workers for their union activities violates the workers’ basic and fundamental rights that the USMCA protects,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We are committed to working with the Mexican government to investigate these matters thoroughly and to ensure that Volkswagen workers’ essential rights are upheld.”Co-chaired by the Department of Labor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee found sufficient and credible evidence that the workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights were denied and initiated the review request.“Today’s action reflects the United States’ unwavering commitment to ensuring workers can engage in union activity without fearing reprisals. Workplaces should respect, not punish, workers exercising their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights, and this is how we are empowering workers and their communities through the USMCA,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai  “To date, the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism has directly benefitted almost 30,000 workers and their families, and we look forward to working with the government of Mexico to address the issues at this facility.”   Mexico’s government has 10 days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and present its findings. The Volkswagen Mexico plant in Puebla employs about 6,100 assembly line workers, 5,000 supervisory or trusted employees and thousands of parts-assembly workers. The facility manufactures 2,300 vehicles per day comprised of six different models. In 2023, the company exported more than 300,000 of those vehicles, including 67 percent for sale in the U.S. Learn more about the department’s international work.

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