Earlier this week, I explained how the NAFTA successor rapid response mechanism puts the U.S. government on the side of labor rather than capital in trade deals. The first of the complaints under the new United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement was actually filed by the United States government.

The complaint concerned a rigged election at a GM plant in Silao, Mexico, where workers tried to oust a bogus union in favor of a real one. After discovering that the pro-employer Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) had destroyed ballots in the initial vote, the remedy under the quick response was a new election overseen by international observers.

Now the other shoe has fallen off. Yesterday, the Mexican Ministry of Labor certified that workers voted this week to cancel their collective bargaining contract with the factory’s bogus union. The company’s union lost by a vote of 3,214 to 2,613. This now opens the way for workers to join a true union.

This gain is doubly significant because the Silao truck plant is not managed by a subcontractor. The plant is owned and operated by GM. Under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Mechanism, if GM or the bogus union tries to play cute, that plant’s exports to the United States can be dutiable or blocked at the border by customs. American.

This is the kind of rigor in trade agreements that has long been used on behalf of banks and multinational corporations, but this time for workers and unions.

If you think about it, the USMCA now offers Mexican workers far greater rights to vote for the union of their choice, without harassment or retaliation from the company, than their American siblings under US labor law. current. In principle, the USMCA could be used this way, but in practice most of the exports affected go north.

Restoring these rights to American workers will require the enactment of the PRO Act, which stands for Protection of the Right to Organize. The law was passed by the House. President Biden must make it a priority in the Senate.


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