U.S. asks Mexico to evaluate a second criticism about labor violations in its auto business.


The Biden administration is citing provisions in a new trade deal to ask Mexico to investigate allegations of labor violations at an auto parts plant near the U.S. border.

The action, announced on Wednesday by the Department of Labor and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, follows a complaint from groups like the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest union confederation, that workers have been denied freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The AFL-CIO said workers at the Tridonex plant in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, had been harassed and fired for their efforts to organize with an independent union instead of a company-controlled union. Tridonex is owned by Cardone Industries, an auto parts maker based in Philadelphia.

This is the second time that the United States has petitioned Mexico for a labor law review under the US-Mexico-Canada agreement that went into effect last summer. The agreement provides for a “rapid reaction mechanism” that allows complaints and sanctions to be filed against an individual factory.

“This announcement shows our commitment to using the instruments of the agreement to advocate for workers at home and abroad,” said Katherine Tai, the US trade representative, in a statement, noting that Mexico has 10 days to agree to a review and, if agreed, 45 days to resolve the situation.

Last month, the United States called on Mexico to investigate whether there had been labor violations at a General Motors plant in central Guanajuato in connection with a recent vote on a collective agreement. Mexico agreed to the motion that same day.