On April 6, the BCTGM filed a submission to the United States Department of Labor asking for an investigation into the use of company unions, protection contracts and a lack of union transparency in Mexico.
With an increasing number of U.S.-based corporations moving production to Mexico, the country’s lax labor standards and worker protections have come under scrutiny.
It is well documented that the Mexican government allows the formation and dominance of “company” or “yellow” unions. These are “unions” in name only and offer no real representation to workers. While approximately 10 percent of Mexico’s labor force is unionized an astounding nine out of every 10 members belong to secretive and undemocratic pro-business unions. These company unions negotiate “protection contracts” that keep wages and benefits artificially low, are entered into without worker input, and in many cases, without workers even being aware of the fact they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
BCTGM officials are concerned that workers at the new Mondelez International facility in Salinas are being represented by a “company union”, with no real rights as union members.
According to BCTGM International President David Durkee, if companies are allowed to take advantage of laws that exploit Mexican workers, then corporations like Mondelez will continue to close plants in the United States and Canada and move production to Mexico.
“Mondelez and companies like it must not be allowed to take advantage of a country’s inferior labor laws to run roughshod over the Mexican workers rights to freedom of association and the right to join a union of their own choosing,” said Durkee.
The BCTGM filed the submission under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) which is a labor side-agreement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The purpose of NAALC is to improve working conditions for workers in Mexico, Canada and the United States, but workers in Mexico have many more barriers to freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.