Report of Review of U.S. NAO Submission No. 2003-01
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Bureau of International Labor Affairs
SUMMARY OF THE SUBMISSION The Submission raises issues concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively, occupational safety and health, and minimum employment standards (e.g., minimum wage and overtime pay). The Submission also raises issues regarding access for workers to fair, equitable and transparent labor tribunal proceedings, and alleges that the allegations represent an overall and persistent pattern of non-enforcement of labor laws. All of the issues raised concern alleged events taking place at the Matamoros Garment S.A. de C.V. and Tarrant México S.R. de C.V. garment manufacturing factories in the state of Puebla, Mexico. According to the submission, the alleged worker rights violations were brought to the attention of management and government officials beginning in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Over the course of the factories’ operation, issues raised included freedom of association (union registration denials and associated harassment), occupational safety and health violations (poor cafeteria conditions, ventilation and bathroom conditions, and lack of personal protection equipment), and minimum employment standards (minimum wage violations and non- payment of back wages). In response, Matamoros Garment and Tarrant workers began efforts to form unions, but learned in both cases that they already had union representation – although allegedly without their knowledge (alleged “protection contracts”). Believing the existing unions were not adequately representing their rights, the workers began efforts to form separate or independent unions – filing union registration petitions before the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board of Puebla. In both the Matamoros Garment and Tarrant cases, union registration petitions were denied, the reasons for which the submitters allege were based on justifications outside Mexican labor law.
North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation; NAALC; Mexico; Canada; United States; labor law; working conditions; worker rights; Puebla