Director, Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
January 17, 2024
On Friday, January 12, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce submitted an amicus brief to express its views to the members of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) panel that has been formed in connection with an alleged denial of rights at the San Martín Mine in Zacatecas, Mexico.
In the U.S. Chamber amicus brief, we explain how the United States government lacks the legal authority to pursue this case, urge the United States to respect Mexico’s sovereignty by using the RRM tool sparingly, and express confidence that the panel will conclude that no denial of rights as defined under the USMCA has occurred at the San Martín Mine.
Background: On May 15, 2023, Los Mineros, the United Steelworkers of America, and the AFL-CIO filed the Rapid Response petition alleging a denial of rights occurred at the San Martín mine. The Mexican government launched an investigation to evaluate the claims and determined that the USMCA does not apply to this case as the events occurred before the USMCA entered into force and because the San Martín Mine is not a covered facility as defined by the USMCA. As such, the Mexican government declined to remedy the complaint through the RRM, choosing instead to address the allegations through the Mexican judicial system. In response to Mexico’s decision, the United States government requested the first-ever panel under the RRM.
Bottom Line: The San Martín mine case is the first to be presented before an RRM panel, and the outcomes could set a potentially damaging precedent for labor disputes moving forward, impacting the U.S. business community. Cases brought under the RRM must be legitimate and respect U.S. and Mexican labor law. Dismissing these guardrails opens the door for unsubstantiated complaints against cross-border business and poses risks to commerce with our top trading partner, Mexico.
The U.S. Chamber’s full amicus brief can be read here.
About the authors
Stephanie Ferguson is the Director of Global Employment Policy & Special Initiatives. Her work on the labor shortage has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Associated Press.