United States Seeks Mexico's Review of Alleged Denial of Workers’ Rights at RV Fresh Foods Facility

February 16, 2024

For the second time in 2024, and 20th time overall, the United States has sought Mexico’s review under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism. 

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced today that the United States has asked Mexico to review whether workers at the RV Fresh Foods S.A. de C.V. facility, which produces guacamole in Uruapan in the state of Michoacán, are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  The United States has suspended liquidation of tariffs on goods from the facility.  The request, which was made in response to a petition, marks the 20th time the United States has formally invoked the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), and the first time the United States has done so in the food manufacturing sector.
“Today’s action reiterates our unwavering commitment to employing the RRM across economic sectors to uphold the principles of union democracy: the foundational ability for workers to harness the power of freedom of association and collective bargaining to drive change in their workplaces,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “We look forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve the issues present in this matter.”
“Any action that undermines workers’ rights to organize and negotiate collectively is contrary to the core objectives embedded in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and Mexico’s labor laws,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “Through our partnership with the Mexican government, we are committed to a thorough investigation and just resolution of this matter.”
The United States Trade Representative and the Secretary of Labor co-chair the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement (ILC).  On January 17, 2024, the ILC received an RRM petition from the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores y Empleados de la Industria del Comercio, Alimenticia, Textil, Automotriz, Metalúrgica, Servicios y Distribución Generalísimo José María Morelos y Pavón, a Mexican union, and the Confederación Central Nacional (COCENA), a Mexican union confederation.  The petition alleges RV Fresh Foods committed acts of employer interference in union activities, including by restricting the union’s access to the facility and intervening in the process of electing union delegates.  The ILC reviews RRM petitions that it receives, and the accompanying information, within 30 days.
The ILC determined 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 RV Fresh Foods are being denied the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  Mexico has 10 days to agree to conduct a review and, if it agrees, 45 days from today to complete the review.
A copy of the request for review can be found here.
A copy of the letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury can be found here.
Information about previous requests can be found here.