WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday asked Mexico under a regional trade pact to again investigate whether workers are being denied labor rights at an auto parts facility of American company VU Manufacturing in the border city of Piedras Negras.
The two countries in September announced that they had resolved an earlier complaint under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), saying that workers at the plant were able to elect the union of their choice.
“Despite this facility taking positive actions in 2022, some of the failures we identified previously appear to be recurring,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Monday. “We look forward to working with the government of Mexico to promptly address this issue.”
Michigan-based VU Manufacturing’s plant produces interior car parts including arm rests and door upholstery.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This represents the sixth time that the United States has formally invoked USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism and the first in 2023. President Joe Biden’s administration first called for a probe into the Mexican plant in July after activists accused the company of interfering in the ability of workers to choose their union.
“This is the second time in less than a year we’ve received allegations of workers’ rights violations by VU Manufacturing,” U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said, adding that the mechanism “addresses real workplace issues and helps to get the parties to do what they should, which is to resolve issues in good faith at the bargaining table.”
Biden’s administration said on Monday that in December it received a petition from two Mexican labor organizations stating that workers at VU Manufacturing were being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Will Dunham)