United States Seeks Mexico’s Review of Alleged Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining Violations at Panasonic Facility

May 18, 2022

Request is the third under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism.

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai today announced that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the Panasonic Automotive Systems de Mexico facility in Reynosa, State of Tamaulipas, are being denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining.  The request marks the third time that the United States has requested Mexico’s review of freedom of association and collective bargaining rights issues under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), all of which have been in the automotive sector.
“This announcement demonstrates once again that, when concerns arise, we will work swiftly to stand up for workers on both sides of the border,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Along with Secretary Marty Walsh and his team at the Department of Labor, we have worked closely with the Mexican government to address Rapid Response Labor Mechanism matters quickly, and I look forward to doing the same on this issue as well.”
In connection with the U.S. request, Ambassador Tai has directed the Secretary of the Treasury to suspend the liquidation for all unliquidated entries of goods from the Panasonic facility. 
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On April 18, the ILC received a RRM petition from SNITIS, a Mexican union, and Rethink Trade, a U.S.-based advocacy organization.  The petition alleged that workers at the Panasonic automotive parts facility in Reynosa are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining.  The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days. 
The ILC determined, in response to the petition filed on April 18, that there is sufficient credible evidence of a denial of rights enabling the good faith invocation of enforcement mechanisms.  As a result, the United States Trade Representative has submitted a request to Mexico that Mexico review whether workers at the Panasonic facility are being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining.  Mexico has ten days to agree to conduct a review and, if it agrees, 45 days from today to complete the review. 
Last year, the United States submitted two requests for review to Mexico.  Those requests were the first two times any country used the novel RRM, and each resulted in substantial concrete benefits for workers.  Information about those matters can be found here.

A copy of the request for review can be found here.
A copy of the letter to the Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.