The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has called on General Motors and Mexican authorities to redouble efforts to ensure that workers at the Guanajuato pickup plant can vote freely next month to elect a new union.
The election will allow some 7,000 workers at the plant in the city of Silao to choose between four new unions, in line with a Mexican labor reform aimed at guaranteeing freedom of association, a key principle of a new trade agreement with the United States and Canada.
A vote last year on the collective bargaining agreement was initially marred by irregularities, including destroyed ballots, prompting the US government to demand greater scrutiny in a formal complaint under the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (TMEC).
The workers ultimately voted to dissolve the contract, opening the door to elect a new union.
UAW President Ray Curry, whose group represents GM workers in the United States, said labor inspectors should be dispatched immediately to Silao to ensure the plant is “free from coercion and intimidation” ahead of the vote between on February 1 and 2.
For decades, workers at companies across Mexico have often faced intimidation linked to controversial union votes and efforts to organize.
Curry’s comments echoed similar concerns in recent days from the American labor federation AFL-CIO, the Canadian union Unifor and the Italian metalworkers’ union FIOM.
“We are concerned about the lack of worker rights protections inside the General Motors plant,” the AFL-CIO said this week. General Motors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.