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USMCA: Saint Gobain labor case concluded

The labor dispute over a Saint Gobain facility in Mexico was successfully concluded under the Mexico-U.S.-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

On September 27, 2022, the AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers and the Independent Union of Free and Democratic Workers of Saint Gobain Mexico, a Mexican union, filed a T-MEC Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) petition regarding Saint Gobain Mexico’s Nicolas Bravo 8 plant, a facility in Cuautla, Mexico, that exports automotive glass.

The petition contained troubling allegations regarding the denial of workers’ rights to free association and collective bargaining in connection with a collective bargaining agreement approval vote in July 2022 and an upcoming vote to determine which union would represent workers in collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

During the U.S. review of the matter, the Mexican union petitioners won the representation vote at the facility and the situation at the facility improved for the workers.

As a result of these developments, although the United States determined that there was no longer any past denial of rights with respect to the votes, the United States will continue to closely monitor progress at the facility, said the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

USMCA

The Government of Mexico remained engaged on this issue, assisted in holding a fair union election, and worked with the company to resolve the immediate issues.

Going forward, the Government of Mexico will continue to monitor the situation in the future.

As a result, the United States determined that no immediate action on the petition is necessary at this time.

The USMCA Labor Annex establishes specific provisions to prohibit the registration of so-called “protection contracts,” which are collective bargaining agreements entered into by non-representative unions, often without the knowledge of workers, that undermine legitimate collective bargaining and ensure low wages.

 

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