Under USMCA, Mexican trade union threatens strike at Home Depot

16/01/2020
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12:34
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Reuters
Under USMCA, Mexican trade union threatens strike at Home Depot

Under USMCA, Mexican trade union threatens strike at Home Depot

16/01/2020
12:34
Reuters
Mexico City
Daina Beth Solomon & Bill Berkrot/REUTERS
-A +A
CROC has accused Home Depot of blocking union activity and threatened strikes next week if the U.S. chain does not improve pay and benefits for workers

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Spurred on by labor protections in the new North American trade deal (USMCA), a top Mexican trade union has accused Home Depot of blocking union activity and threatened strikes next week if the U.S. home improvement chain does not improve pay and benefits for workers.

The Revolutionary Confederation of Laborers and Farmworkers, or CROC, is pressing for a 20% raise, benefits such as 20 annual vacation days and more contributions toward transportation, school supplies, food, and savings funds.

The union is also urging the company to end discrimination, sexual harassment, and unfair dismissals, which it says have been reported to the union and labor councils.

Did you know Mexico, the U.S. and Canada signed the USMCA trade agreement?

“We called for a strike due to worker rights violations and to review the collective labor contract,” CROC Secretary General Isaías González told Reuters.

Home Depot has about 6,200 workers under the union’s contracts, according to CROC.

González said the demands were similar to those CROC put to retailer Walmart de México last March before the government passed a reform designed to guarantee workers’ rights and end decades of cozy relationships between unions and companies that yielded so-called protection contracts.

Did you know Mexico rejected U.S. labor demands on USMCA?

Walmart and CROC reached a deal to avert strikes.

The demands for Home Depot, where CROC has 40 collective contracts in 18 states, grew out of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), González said. The trade pact was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives only after Mexico stepped up commitments to enforce its labor laws.

“Now is the time to act, because we now have the new labor law, we have USMCA, and we can’t be held to the terms of companies that resist,” González said. “They’re used to protection contracts. But that ended with the new labor law.”

Did you know Mexico was blindsided by the labor enforcement provision proposed by the U.S. Congress?

The USMCA has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Senate.

When asked about CROC’s demands, Home Depot said it was not the only company adapting to Mexico’s labor law.

“This stems from the ongoing changes coming from the new labor reform standards, which are not specific to The Home Depot,” said Home Depot spokeswoman Sara Gorman.

The new USMCA: labor controls and tariffs

“We’re committed to doing the right thing, taking care of our associates and complying with the law, which we’ve done since our arrival in Mexico in 2001.”

Home Depot has about 16,000 employees across 125 stores in Mexico. In recent days, some workers have displayed large banners emblazoned with CROC’s arguments at store entrances.

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