Mexican union calls for U.S. probe into alleged labor abuses at Panasonic plant – Reuters

April 18, 2022 by No Comments

MEXICO CITY, April 18 (Reuters) – A Mexican union on Monday asked the U.S. government to investigate a Panasonic plant for alleged worker rights abuses, the latest in a series of disputes seeking to leverage a new trade deal to improve workplace conditions in Mexico.

In a petition to U.S. labor officials, filed on Monday and shared with Reuters, Mexican union SNITIS said a Panasonic (6752.T) car parts plant in the border city of Reynosa violated the 2020 United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by signing a union contract behind workers’ backs and firing several dozen employees who protested.

“It’s important to keep the U.S. government informed that worker rights are being violated,” said Rosario Moreno, head of SNITIS, an independent union that grew out of worker dissatisfaction with traditional labor groups in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

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“They were given a contract they didn’t even know about,” Moreno said of the Panasonic deal with rival union SIAMARM.

The U.S. government was reviewing the petition, a Biden administration spokesperson said on Monday.

Asked about the alleged abuses, Panasonic Corporation of North America said it was committed to complying with Mexico’s labor laws and collective bargaining process, and had “the strongest of interest” in ensuring the dispute does not impact employees’ freedom to collectively bargain.

It also said the dispute was between SNITIS and SIAMARM and “does not directly involve Panasonic.” Panasonic’s Reynosa plant employs nearly 1,900 people and makes car audio and display systems, mostly for U.S. and Canada export.

Both Panasonic and the Tamaulipas labor board, where the contract that SNITIS says was signed without worker consent was registered, said the deal was legal.

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