Mexico finds ‘serious irregularities’ in labor probe at VU Manufacturing

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government on Thursday said it concluded there were “serious irregularities” hindering free association and collective bargaining at U.S. auto parts maker VU Manufacturing’s operations in northern Mexico.

    Following the investigation, which was prompted by a U.S. labor complaint under the North American trade pact known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Mexican officials said they would launch a 10-day consultation period with U.S. counterparts to develop a remediation plan.

“It was determined that there are serious irregularities and decisive actions on the part of the company to obstruct the free exercise of the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining within VU Manufacturing,” the government said in a statement.

It added that it would seek to ensure workers can fully exercise their collective rights without disrupting bilateral trade.

Michigan-based VU Manufacturing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plant under investigation is located in the northern Mexican city of Piedras Negras, across the U.S. border from Eagle Pass, Texas.

The U.S. government earlier said it received a petition in December from two Mexican labor organizations stating that workers at VU Manufacturing were being denied the right of free association and collective bargaining.

This latest probe follows another complaint at the same plant that the two countries said had been resolved in September, noting that workers at the facility were able to elect the union of their choice after activists alleged the company interfered.

(Reporting by Sarah Morland and Carolina Pulice; Editing by Daina Beth Solomon and Kim Coghill)