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Pascrell Supports Accounting of Repeated Mexican Labor Violations

Labor groups file first NAFTA rapid response labor case to combat workers denied union representation

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today reacted positively to first complaint filed under the new NAFTA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism.

“The corruption and silencing of labor organizing in Mexico must end,” said Rep. Pascrell. “While Mexico changed its labor laws to eliminate government connected protection unions and their crooked connections with corporations, there are continued reports of intimidation, harassment, and retaliation against workers lawfully seeking independent union representation. Collusion between the Mexican government and corporations may be engaging in these flagrant violations of both the law and the renegotiated NAFTA agreement.

“I cannot more strongly support the rapid response petition being filed against Tridonex to break this maddening cycle of corruption in Mexico. During NAFTA negotiations, I repeatedly raised the conditions these workers faced, and the threats posed against SNITIS leader Susana Prieto Terrazas. Even then-Ambassador Robert Lighthizer called Ms. Prieto’s arrest a ‘bad indicator.’ The newly established Interagency Labor Committee must swiftly accept the petition and inform Mexico that it will initiate the enforcement process. If this process does not lead to a positive resolution for the workers and Ms. Prieto, I hope the United States will unleash the full arsenal of enforcement tools to protect the rights of workers so American jobs are not being undermined and offshored. Today’s announcement is just the first case. Outside groups, as well as the Biden administration, must not hesitate to file additional petitions to support workers and labor organizing efforts.”

Rep. Pascrell was the first member of Congress to raise the case of Susana Prieto Terrazas to then-U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the 2020 U.S. trade agenda. Pascrell also highlighted the need for strong enforcement mechanisms to ensure Mexico honors agreed-upon labor reforms, echoing the many calls Pascrell has made in the past. Rep. Pascrell opposed NAFTA 2.0 due to its lack of enforcement mechanisms, stating that “the big questions on Mexican labor laws, enforcement mechanisms, American wages, and scope of environmental standards, among others, remain unanswered.” He has also led House efforts to end the outsourcing of American jobs with his Bring Jobs Home Act, which would close tax loopholes for companies who ship jobs overseas and provide tax relief for American companies that move jobs to the U.S. from another nation.

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