What’s going on:
There’s a significant change happening in Mexico’s labor market. Thousands of pro-business union contracts are set to expire as the country works to eliminate deals between employers and unions that have kept wages low, according to Reuters.
This move is part of Mexico’s commitment under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade pact that replaced the 1994 NAFTA.
Reuters reports that in the four years since the workers voting process began, only about 400 contracts so far have been voted down – which leads experts to speculate a conflict of interest from union-run votes.
Last month, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor alleged that a prominent union swiped ballots during a major vote at a Goodyear tire plant. These are similar accusations to what happened in 2021 with General Motors – which led to the original labor complaint with USMCA.
Reportedly, workers have already cast ballots on 20,000 contracts across a variety of fields including auto, retail, and mining.
Why it matters:
The transition to more “worker-centric” contracts may also present new challenges for employers in Mexico.
The credibility of the voting process has been called into question by the Independent Mexico Labor Expert Board, which cited the small number of rejected contracts as a cause for concern.
The removal of contracts that primarily served company interests and those that had little worker backing creates a new opportunity for unions and workers to come together and establish updated contracts that better represent the needs and rights for employees.
How it’ll impact the future:
The dissolution of thousands of pro-business union contracts in Mexico marks a significant shift in the country’s labor landscape. Alcalde sees this as a historic moment for the country.
New labor contracts are being developed across the world as workers in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom are utilizing unions and labor strikes to renegotiate their own employee conditions.
The next possible step for unions in Mexico will be to establish new contracts in place of the ones that were canceled, and to convince workers that they will represent them better by defending their rights and obtaining better benefits and salaries.