HOW LABOR BEAT MEXICO ON TRADE: After weeks of negotiations, Mexico was nearly ready to walk away from the USMCA. The issue: whether the AFL-CIO could send American inspectors into Mexican factories where workers weren't being given their full union rights. But, in the end, Mexico agreed to last-minute concessions that will allow multinational inspection teams to investigate allegations of labor violations, POLITICO's Sabrina Rodriguez and Ian Kullgren report. The new enforcement mechanism was enough to win the endorsement of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, marking the first time the federation had endorsed a trade agreement since 2001.
Under the deal, "the U.S. can file a complaint to Mexico if it suspects that a factory is denying its workers their union rights," Rodriguez and Kullgren report. "If Mexico agrees that there is a problem at the factory, the Mexican government has 45 days to solve the problem."
But if Mexico does not mitigate the problem, the U.S. can demand creation of a panel made up of three independent labor experts, one of them American, to investigate the facility. (Mexico will be similarly free to investigate and inspect American factories.)
One big victory for Democrats and labor, Rodriguez and Kullgren write, "is that the U.S. can impose stiff penalties on Mexican factories if they fail to uphold union rights. If a factory has recurring violations, the U.S. can block the goods made there from entering the country."
If this seems a little arrogant- it is. Mexico reformed its labor laws to overcome this particular problem of company unions last Spring under the AMLO government. But, governments come and go. This tries to establish free labor unions under any government. Note: Mexico can also investigate U.S. work sites, That should be interesting for Uber, Amazon, and others.