US Deputy Secretary of Labor visits Mexico to discuss worker rights, ending child, forced labor
During an official visit to Mexico, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su today announced new investments by the department to support strengthening workers’ rights, promoting freedom of association, the right to bargain collectively, and the elimination of child and forced labor.
Deputy Secretary Su also highlighted Mexico’s efforts toward meeting labor commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, including implementing the country’s historic 2019 labor reform.
While meeting with Mexican Secretary of Labor Luisa Alcalde, Deputy Secretary Su encouraged the Mexican government to continue to lead on these issues and invited the country to join the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights initiative, a multi-lateral enterprise to support trade union rights in the global economy.
“Worker rights are at the foundation of inclusive economic development and a vibrant democracy. We are grateful for Mexico’s leadership in these areas,” said U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Julie Su. “The Biden-Harris administration supports strong workers’ rights and ethical labor practices. Mexico’s actions to reform the country’s labor law in 2019 show us, they believe the same. Together, we can deepen our collaboration to strengthen and expand workers’ rights.”
While in Mexico City, Deputy Secretary Su met with women activists, workers, project implementers and participants. She will travel to San Luis Potosi to meet with employers and workers to highlight how the two countries have agreed to technical exchanges on apprenticeships, and how to use them to expand skills development and workforce participation.
Deputy Secretary Su used the visit to announce combined investments of $28 million by Department of Labor to support projects in Mexico. The projects include the following:
- A $5 million cooperative grant to Social Accountability International to strengthen the capacity of tomato and chile pepper producers to comply with Mexican labor laws. The project will also combat child labor, forced labor and unacceptable working conditions, and support compliance and remediation systems focused on workers’ voices in Baja California, Baja California Sur and Chihuahua.
- A $13 million project in partnership with the International Labor Organization to address child labor and forced labor at the federal level, across southern Mexico and in Chiapas, Quintana Roo and Yucatán. The project will share best practices for addressing child labor, forced labor and human trafficking with Central American countries.
- A $10 million award to the Solidarity Center, an international worker rights organization, to foster union democracy, strengthen worker representation and support worker organizations. The award seeks to improve their capacity for negotiating collective agreements that raise wages and improve labor conditions in priority industrial sectors.
As they celebrate the bicentennial of U.S.-Mexico diplomatic relations, the visit underscored the two countries’ shared commitment to advancing labor and employment priorities and putting workers at the center of trade policy and recovery from the pandemic.