As the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) entered into force July 1, the U.S. Department of Labor affirmed its commitment to upholding the agreement’s labor provisions.
“President Trump negotiated USMCA for the American worker,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “USMCA contains some of the strongest labor protections of any trade agreement, and the Department of Labor will faithfully and effectively ensure compliance with those protections.”
To ensure the agreement benefits American workers, the USMCA, unlike NAFTA, brings labor obligations into the core of the agreement and makes them fully enforceable.
The Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) has empaneled an Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement, co-chaired with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Among the many responsibilities of the committee, it will receive and review submissions under the USMCA Labor Chapter and Rapid Response Labor Mechanism, a first-of-its-kind enforcement provision that allows for enforcement actions against individual factories that fail to comply with critical labor provisions.
ILAB also set up a multi-lingual, web-based hotline to receive confidential information about labor issues from interested parties in USMCA countries.
ILAB has worked with the U.S. Department of State to establish three labor attaché positions at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. The attachés will coordinate compliance and collaborate with the Mexican government to help ensure that landmark labor legislation passed last year in Mexico is implemented.
ILAB technical assistance has been, and will continue to be, key to ensuring that Mexico lives up to its commitments under the agreement. So far, the Department has invested $32 million in grant funding with plans to invest an additional $180 million over the next four years to non-governmental recipients to support the implementation of the USMCA. The Department anticipates technical assistance projects will build capacity of the Mexican Ministry of Labor to implement the new labor legislation, increase awareness of the new labor law requirements, provide training for workers and employers to improve labor relations and collective bargaining, and engage with civil society organizations to promote acceptable conditions of work. In addition, the Department will focus on worker-focused capacity building and efforts to reduce workplace discrimination, child labor, forced labor and human trafficking.
The mission of the ILAB is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labor standards and combating international child labor, forced labor and human trafficking. For more information about the Department’s work on these issues, visit http://www.dol.gov/agencies/ilab.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.