May 24, 2023

US wants labor rights investigation of Goodyear plant in Mexico


The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday asked the Mexican government to investigate claims that labor rights are being denied at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in the country.

The USTR petition alleges that Goodyear is obstructing workers’ freedom of association and right to collective bargaining at its plant in the north central Mexican city of San Luis Potosi.

On May 7, more than 82% of workers at the Goodyear plant in San Luis Potosi voted to terminate their contract with the Miguel Trujillo Lopez union and seek new representation at the facility. 

It was the second workers’ union vote since April. Mexico’s Labor Department said voter fraud occurred during the April vote, whose results were thrown out. 

“In rejecting the collective bargaining agreement, the workers at the Goodyear rubber tire facility in San Luis Potosi have expressed their will,” Thea Lee, deputy undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor, said in a statement.

The plant, which manufactures tires for the domestic and international markets, directly employs around 1,149 workers.

“With this result, it is proven that the vast majority of Goodyear workers decided personally, freely, directly and secretly to terminate the collective bargaining agreement held by the Miguel Trujillo Lopez union,” according to a statement from Mexico’s Labor Department.

The Miguel Trujillo Lopez union is affiliated with the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), one of the country’s largest labor organizations. 

CTM has been accused by labor critics of keeping worker wages low for decades across Mexico, according to the Associated Press. The union reportedly signed a collective bargaining agreement with Goodyear for worker salaries of $22 a day in San Luis Potosi.

The USTR petition was filed under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact’s rapid response mechanism, focusing on the denial of specific labor rights. Enforcement efforts can result in additional tariffs or other import restrictions.

The petition was reviewed by the U.S. Office of Trade and Labor Affairs, which said the Mexican government has 10 days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and to present its findings.

The USMCA petition is based on a complaint by the independent Mexican trade union Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana (LSOM) to the USTR, which accuses Goodyear of not respecting the provisions of the plant’s collective bargaining agreement with its workers, while also offering workers fewer benefits than available to other workers in the rubber industry in Mexico.

“By rejecting the collective bargaining agreement, the workers at the Goodyear plant in San Luis Potosi have expressed their will,” Lee said. “We now expect Goodyear to treat its workers fairly and enforce the contract law.”

Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear employs about 74,000 people globally and manufactures its products in 57 facilities in 23 countries.

Watch: Werner Transportation loses appeal on $100 million judgment.

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