GM workers defeat union in the first test of USMCA in Mexico

FILE PHOTO: GM's truck assembly plant in Silao, Mexico

(Reuters) – Workers at a General Motors pickup plant in the central Mexican city of Silao have voted to scrap their collective contract, opening the door for them to oust one of Mexico’s largest labor organizations as their union in a historic move.

The vote marked the first test of labor rules under a new trade deal that replaced the 1994 North American Free Agreement (NAFTA), with a series of safeguards agreed by Mexico and the United States to ensure a fair vote.

An initial vote in April was suspended after Mexico’s labor ministry found irregularities in the union-led process, prompting the United States to lodge the first complaint under the labor enforcement mechanism of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Of 5,876 GM employees who cast ballots in the Tuesday-Wednesday vote, 3,214 workers rejected the bargaining agreement while 2,623 workers voted to keep it, the labor ministry said in a statement.

Many workers who campaigned for the “no” vote said their current union did not fight hard enough https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/gm-workers-historic-vote-mexico-tests-new-trade-deal-2021-08-17 for better salaries at the plant that produces thousands of profitable pickup trucks a year.

The ballot count was led by the plant’s Miguel Trujillo Lopez union – part of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) – alongside observers from the Labor Ministry, Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) and the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO).

Neither the union nor GM immediately replied to requests for comment.

Such votes are required at unionized workplaces across Mexico under a labor reform that underpins USMCA labor rules and is geared at eliminating so-called sweetheart contracts between business-friendly unions and companies.

Source: Reuters

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