WASHINGTON, Sept.22 (Reuters) – A labor complaint in the United States under the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement over a union vote at the General Motors (GM.N) plant in Mexico has been Completed successfully, lifting the threat of US tariffs on pickup from the trucks factory, the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) said on Wednesday.
The United States opened the case in May after complaints that the rights of workers at a GM pickup truck plant in Silao, central Mexico, were violated in a vote to maintain or cancellation of their collective agreement.
The result was suspended after Mexico’s Ministry of Labor discovered irregularities in the process and workers voted again in August to cancel the contract, opening the door for them to oust one of the largest groups unions in Mexico as a union. Read more
The vote, with guarantees agreed to by Mexico and the United States to ensure a fair vote, was the first test of labor rules under the USMCA agreement that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement. 1994 (NAFTA).
“We will continue to work closely with Mexico to strengthen the legitimization voting process and ensure that Mexican workers can access their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining,” said US Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai in a press release.
The August vote marked a defeat for one of Mexico’s most powerful unions, while also opening up an opening for workers to freely choose independent groups they believe are fighting best for their interests.
Labor remedies under the USMCA include revocation of duty-free access for infringing plant products. In GM’s case, that could have meant applying a 25% US pickup import tariff on trucks manufactured by Silao, likely adding thousands of dollars to the cost of each vehicle.
Tai helped negotiate the Labor Law Enforcement Mechanism on behalf of Democrats in the US Congress.
GM won key changes at the USMCA that allowed it to continue to build hundreds of thousands of high-profit pickup trucks in Mexico for export to the United States each year.
GM did not immediately comment on Wednesday.
Reporting by David Lawder and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Richard Pullin
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