G.M. workers in Mexico pick an independent union, a trade deal test case.


Employees at one of many largest Normal Motors crops in Mexico voted to undertake an impartial union on Thursday in what was seen as an vital take a look at case for whether or not new North American commerce guidelines can enhance working circumstances and stamp out corruption within the Mexican labor system.

The union, referred to as the Impartial Nationwide Autoworkers Union, received 78 % of the votes solid on the plant in Silao, the place greater than 6,000 employees assemble Chevy Silverados and G.M.C. Sierra pickup vehicles. The vote pushed out the Confederation of Mexican Employees, which had held the contract for the final 25 years.

Employees on the Silao plant begin out incomes lower than $9 a day, and have described punishing working conditions. Staff have mentioned they’re typically denied breaks and are hardly ever provided raises.

Mexico pledged to make sweeping modifications to its labor legal guidelines and courtroom system as a part of the brand new United States Mexico Canada Settlement, which changed the North American Free Trade Agreement. The brand new settlement aimed to make it simpler for impartial unions to problem incumbents, and required corporations working in Mexico to revisit a whole lot of 1000’s of present contracts in impartial elections.

Democrats hailed these reforms as among the many pact’s most vital modifications, saying they might assist degree the taking part in subject amongst employees in america, Canada and Mexico.

Labor leaders have hoped the vote on the G.M. plant would presage modifications at different factories round Mexico, the place present labor unions have been accused of colluding with firm administration to maintain wages low.

Liz Shuler, the president of the AFL-CIO, mentioned in a press release that the election “set a hard-won precedent and got here solely after employees voted to throw out a earlier contract that had poor advantages and was negotiated with out the employees’ enter.”

“Employees overcame gross intimidation and election meddling, and their triumph is an instance of what occurs when employees stand collectively. This vote represents a rejection of the previous and a brand new period for Mexican employees’ proper to affiliate freely,” she mentioned.

The U.S. secretary of labor, Marty Walsh, issued a press release expressing help for the vote.

“As employees, we’re stronger after we can converse with one voice — and we’re stronger when our fellow employees around the globe can do the identical,” he mentioned. “The work of defending freedom of affiliation by no means stops, however this historic election exhibits us that we will make progress towards the suitable of all employees to affiliate freely after we work collectively.”



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G.M. workers in Mexico pick an independent union, a trade deal test case.

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