The agreement involved the Panasonic Automotive Systems facility in the northern border city of Reynosa, Mexico, “where workers were previously denied their freedom of association and collective bargaining rights,” the US trade representative said in a statement.
Workers are set to get a 9.5 percent salary increase under a contract negotiated by a recently elected independent union, coming as Mexican annual inflation is running at a 21-year high of nearly 8.0 percent.
The agreement marks the second time that a case scrutinized under the two-year-old United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), has helped workers achieve salary increases after bringing in an independent union of their choice.
In addition to scrapping a bargaining agreement with a union that lacked authority, the Panasonic plant agreed to remove the union, reimburse workers for union dues deducted from paychecks, and recognize an independent union, SNITIS, USTR said. Panasonic also hired back 19 workers who had been dismissed after what they said was a reprisal for backing SNITIS.
Mexico's Labor Ministry said all of the issues raised in the investigation had been resolved, and that it would monitor the plant to ensure the re-hired workers could freely support the union of their choice.