WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement today requested the government of Mexico review an allegation that the rights of workers are being denied at the San Martín mine in Zacatecas.
The action follows a petition alleging the mine, owned by Grupo Mexico, is violating workers’ freedom of association and the exercise of their right to collective bargaining. The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Trade Representative co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee.
On May 15, 2023, the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, United Steelworkers and the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana — otherwise known as Los Mineros — filed a USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism petition with the department. The petition alleges a violation of Los Mineros’ rights as title holder of the collective bargaining agreement at the San Martín mine and the hiring of workers to replace striking workers in violation of the collective bargaining agreement and Mexican law. The U.S. government investigation revealed evidence of violations of Los Mineros’ collective bargaining rights that merited a request for review under the USMCA.
“Respect for a union’s status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative and its right to strike are critical components of Mexico’s labor reform,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “We value our partnership with the Mexican government and look forward to resolving this matter in a manner that preserves the rights of workers.”
“Earlier this week, the United States invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism at an Industrias del Interior garment facility, the first time we have used this tool in the garment sector. That action, combined with today’s announcement, highlights the RRM’s versatility in defending the rights of workers across industries,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “This mechanism complements Mexico’s labor reforms as our governments work together to create real and tangible change. We are grateful to our stakeholder partners for promptly raising these issues and look forward to working with the Government of Mexico in the weeks ahead.”
Sufficient and credible evidence supporting the denial of rights enabled the committee to invoke the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism. Mexico’s government has 10 days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and present its findings.
Under specific circumstances, the USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism allows the U.S. to take enforcement action when an individual plant or mine in Mexico that exports to the U.S. fails to comply with domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.
The San Martín mine is owned by Industrial Minera México S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Grupo México’s Americas Mining Corp. branch. Grupo Mexico is a multinational industrial conglomerate with extensive holdings in mining, foundries, transportation and infrastructure. Approximately 1,000 workers are employed at the mine.
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