WASHINGTON — A joint U.S./Mexico/Canada labor committee has asked the Mexican government to investigate alleged breaches of labor rights at Goodyear's tire factory in San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico.
The request was made May 22 by the Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Labor.
This, it said, followed a petition by La Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana alleging that the Akron-based tire maker was "obstructing workers' freedom of association and right to collective bargaining."
The Mexican workers' union league filed a complaint on April 20, invoking USMCA's "rapid response labor mechanism," the statement noted.
"In rejecting the collective bargaining agreement, the workers at the Goodyear rubber tire facility in San Luis Potosi have expressed their will," Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee said.
"We now look to Goodyear to treat their workers fairly and apply the sectoral agreement."
In response to the USMCA committee's inquiry, Goodyear said its San Luis Potosi plant is "a state-of-the-art facility with strong employee satisfaction, competitive wages and attrition of less than 1%."
Goodyear said it would work closely with Mexican and U.S. authorities to "protect our associates' right to select their own representation, freely and fairly, and we will cooperate with any review under the USMCA."
Lee added that the Mexican government has indicated its support for full implementation of the labor reform and by working together, "we can address the issues in this case and make sure workers receive the benefits to which they are entitled by law."
According to the Labor Department, the USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism allows the U.S. to take enforcement action based on the labor situation at an individual factory in Mexico if such facility fails to comply with domestic freedom of association and collective bargaining laws.
According to the complainants, Goodyear had "refused to apply a sectoral agreement" covering terms and conditions of employment within the rubber industry in Mexico.
"Sufficient and credible evidence supporting the allegation enabled the committee to invoke the rapid response labour mechanism," the U.S. Department of Labor co-chair of the USMCA committee.
Under agreed procedures, Mexico's government had 45 days to examine the claims and to present the findings of its investigation.
The USMCA mechanism allows the U.S. to take enforcement action at individual factories in Mexico to ensure compliance with domestic labor laws.
This is the second time in four years that Goodyear has been accused of poor labor relations at the Mexican plant. In 2019, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives were refused entry to the plant during a fact-finding trip on labor conditions in Mexico, including allegations from former workers there about poor working conditions, low wages, illegal termination and discrimination.
Goodyear opened the San Lui Potosi plant in 2017. It employs 1,100 and has the capacity to manufacture 6 million passenger car tires per year.