WASHINGTON – From Feb. 1 through Feb. 2, approximately 5,400 workers – nearly 90 percent of eligible workers – cast votes in an historic election at the General Motors’ facility in Silao, Mexico, to determine which of the four unions on the ballot will exercise collective bargaining rights.

The new Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration, which oversaw the election, today announced that preliminary results show the National Independent Auto Workers’ Union, a new union known by its Spanish acronym, SINTTIA, received more than 4,000 votes. The Federal Center expects to certify results soon.

Experts from Mexico’s National Electoral Institute and Human Rights Commission observed the vote, as did several external observers from academic and labor rights organizations.

“As workers, we are stronger when we can speak with one voice – and we are stronger when our fellow workers around the world can do the same,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The work of defending freedom of association never stops, but this historic election shows us that we can make progress toward the right of all workers to associate freely when we work together.”

The election is seen as a positive step forward after a worker rights’ action was first brought under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“This election at the Silao General Motors’ plant represents a landmark achievement for the newly created Federal Center in ensuring a free and fair election for workers under Mexico’s new labor justice system,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea M. Lee. “The Federal Center’s administration of this election helped to ensure a fair and transparent process.” 

In July 2021, the U.S. and Mexico announced an unprecedented comprehensive plan to remediate a past denial of the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights for workers at the same facility under the USMCA. 

The course of remediation stemmed from a request for review submitted in May 2021 by the U.S. government under the USMCA rapid response mechanism concerning events related to an April 2021 vote by workers at the facility on whether to approve their collective bargaining agreement. In August 2021, workers rejected the collective bargaining agreement in a free and fair vote. Although the course of remediation officially concluded in September 2021, the U.S. and Mexico remained vigilant, monitoring the conditions on the ground leading up to this month’s vote to ensure that workers would once again be able to exercise their voting rights without interference.   

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.