BALTIMORE (Reuters) – The United States is watching Monday’s vote on a new union at Mexico’s Tridonex auto parts plant very closely, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told reporters, saying the United States had an “outsized interest” in the matter.
“We’re watching that vote extremely closely,” Tai said after an event at Morgan State University in Baltimore. “We obviously have an outsized interest in terms of what happens, given the earlier agreement that we secured from the company in terms of their participation in future elections.”
Nearly 1,700 workers at the Tridonex auto-parts plant are scheduled to vote on Monday on their union representation after two years of campaigning by some workers to replace a union that they accused of failing to push for higher wages.
Tridonex in August agreed to ensure worker rights, pay severance and back wages to dismissed employees to settle an early labor rights complaint under a labor enforcement mechanism in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The AFL-CIO labor organization had filed a complaint with the USTR after Tridonex workers said they were being denied the right to freely select their representation.
Monday’s vote will allow workers at the plant in the northern border city of Matamoros to choose between their current union, part of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), and an independent group, SNITIS.
Auro parts maker Cardone, based in Philadelphia, has said it will be neutral and work with the group elected by workers.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Jonathan Oatis)