In a petition filed on Monday with the US government, Mexican union SNITIS accused Panasonic of violating the 2020 USMCA by agreeing to a deal with the rival SIAMARM union without involving the workers at the plant.
Pursuant to recent Mexico’s labor law updates, facilities throughout Mexico are required to re-legitimize existing collective bargaining agreements. In October 2021, the workers at the Panasonic facility rejected the preexisting CBA pursuant to the legitimization process. The union SNITIS subsequently filed a petition to represent the employees in the new CBA negotiation. Another union, SIAMARM, did the same, leading to a scheduled April 21 – 22 union selection vote at the Panasonic plant.
Per a press release by Rethink Trade – a co-petitioner on the USMCA Rapid Response Complaint – ahead of the scheduled April 21-22 union selection vote, SIAMARM and Panasonic signed an illegitimate contact and began deducting union dues from worker paychecks. The agreement was subsequently filed with the local Mexican Conciliation and Arbitration Board – and act the complaint characterizes as rife with fraud. Further, the press release accuses Panasonic of firing workers who supported SNITIS in addition to the forced imposition of an unapproved CBA agreement. SNITIS and Rethink Trade subsequently filed the USMCA petition over the alleged abuses.
This looks to be the third major use of the Rapid Response Mechanism after the issues at GM Silao and Tridonex. HR Policy Global will monitor the Biden Administration’s response to the case as it is evaluated and followed up on.