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What happened to the 139,000 collective bargaining agreements in Mexico?

What happened to the 139,000 collective bargaining agreements in Mexico? Most of them are no longer valid, according to the USTR of the United States.

As a reminder, a collective bargaining agreement is a labor agreement between employers and unions that regulates aspects of the labor relationship such as wages, vacations, working hours and vacation days.

The Mexico-U.S.-Canada Agreement (USMCA) includes a Labor Chapter Annex that required Mexico to reform its labor justice system prior to its entry into force to ensure that workers have the right to vote by secret ballot to elect union leaders and to approve or reject new and existing collective bargaining agreements. 

Collective bargaining agreements

Mexico enacted these labor law reforms in 2019, giving itself four years to fully implement the operation of a new Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration, a system of local conciliation centers and labor courts throughout the country. 

The four-year period ended on May 1, 2023. 

That was also the deadline for unions to submit collective bargaining agreements that existed at the time of the reform to a secret vote of approval or «legitimization» by workers. 

Most of the 139,000 collective bargaining agreements registered with the government were not submitted to a legitimization vote. 

Those that were not are no longer valid as a result of changes implemented in Mexico’s labor reforms. 

However, employers remain liable under Mexican law for continuing to provide any collective bargaining agreement benefits granted under the invalidated collective bargaining agreements that are greater than those provided by law. 

Bilateral meetings

Throughout 2023, USTR referred that the U.S. government continued to consult closely with the Mexican government regarding the implementation of the reform to ensure compliance with Mexico’s obligations under the USMCA, including through the Interagency Labor Oversight and Compliance Committee

The Interagency Labor Committee, established in 2020 and co-chaired by the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Labor, met regularly in 2023 to review labor rights issues in Mexico and prepare reports for the U.S. Congress.


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