In 2019, Mexican legislators approved a series of amendments to the labor law solidifying workers’ rights to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and the labor justice system. As the sub-grantee of the Mexico Awareness-Raising Project—a US Department of Labor-funded project in Mexico, in partnership with grant recipient Partners of the Americas (POA)—SAI has led several activities such as trainings, summits, webinars, and technical assistance to raise awareness of these new reforms among automobile, auto parts, aluminum, steel, mining, and electronic industry employers and employer associations in Mexico. These activities have reached over 400 people and 90+ employers and strengthened awareness on topics like freedom of association and collective bargaining, legitimation of collective bargaining agreements, no discrimination, among others.
The general project objective is to raise awareness of the 2019 Mexican labor justice system reform among workers, employers, and union leaders. SAI and POA have a shared goal to provide training and build capacity of small, medium, and large employers to meet the new requirements of Mexico’s labor reform, providing guidance and technical assistance to national employer associations located throughout Mexico.
The 2019 labor reform established provisions to protect worker representation and empower unions by strengthening collective bargaining. Prior to this reform, many industrial workers in Mexico signed collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with no workers’ representation. By some estimates, up to 90% of industrial workers in Mexico were part of these CBAs and so-called “ghost” unions that had no real worker participation and support, leading to poor working conditions and low wages.
The labor reform addresses these issues and bolsters labor rights by prohibiting employer interference in union affairs, establishing union democracy to approve collective bargaining agreements and union leadership elections through workers’ secret, personal, free, and direct voting, issuing certificates for unions to ensure worker representation and instituting independent institutions to manage labor disputes.
Because many suppliers work with vulnerable worker populations with little understanding of their labor rights and mandated reforms contained within Mexico’s labor law, SAI’s role in the project is primarily to reach and provide information and guidance on responsible sourcing to these suppliers, utilizing networks of employer associations. SAI is working to equip employers and employer sectoral associations with the knowledge and skills they need to implement the labor reform effectively. SAI has also designed personalized self-assessments to raise their awareness of freedom of association and collective bargaining legal frameworks.
As the project continues, SAI will develop toolkits and other materials to raise awareness on a national level and reach employers who are not able to attend training sessions. SAI will continue to host in-person workshops, virtual webinars, and summits through the end of 2022. If you know an employer in Mexico in the automotive manufacturing, auto parts, mining, aluminum and steel production, or electronics industries that may be interested in participating, please contact Louis Vanegas at [email protected].
For more information, please visit vozlaboral.mx or follow us on Facebook (@VozLaboral) and Twitter (@VozLaboralMx).
Funding is provided by the United States Department of Labor under cooperative agreement number IL-35868-21-75-K. 100% of the total costs of the project is financed with federal funds. This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the United States Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States Government.