General Motors is facing questions over alleged labor rights violations at its production facility in Silao, Mexico. It was reported that a recent worker vote at the plant had been tampered with.
According to a post from Reuters, three U.S. lawmakers, including Bill Pascrell, Dan Kildee, and Earl Blumenaur, sent a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra discussing the potential violations. In the letter, the three House Democrats say that General Motors “has a responsibility to speak out against violations of labor and human rights abuses at the Silao GM plant,” adding that GM should ensure that workers in Mexico are not the targets of threats or retaliation.
Last month, allegations of tampering at General Motors’ Silao facility were brought to light, with evidence that ballots were destroyed following a vote presented to workers over whether to recognize the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) union that controls the plant’s labor contract. According to the Labor Department, evidence of destroyed negative ballots were discovered at CTM union offices.
According to Israel Cervantes, leader of a campaign for a new union, General Motors had threatened workers that would choose to vote against ratification of the existing CTM union.
In response to reports of voter tampering, General Motors issued a statement, saying “General Motors de Mexico regrets the situation and reiterates its willingness to cooperate [in the vote process].”
“At the same, GM repeats its commitment to the efforts and mechanisms that allow workers the right to vote individually, directly and by secret ballot,” the statement continued.
The vote was a requirement under Mexican labor reform which ensures workers are not bound by “protection contracts,” as part of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement free trade pact. The USMCA also stipulates that dispute-resolution panels can be instituted for non-compliance, ensuring workers can organize for higher wages.