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Are the BRICS still relevant?

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U.S. lawmakers visit Mexico for labor reform assurances under trade deal

Scott Tong Oct 7, 2019
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LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the U.S. Congress meet with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Tuesday and are expected to push him on labor reforms. One key issue: union rights. For years, so-called “union leaders” at Mexican companies have been paid by management, said Chris Wilson, deputy director of the Wilson Center think tank’s Mexico Institute.

In May, Mexico passed labor reforms. They allow workers to vote to unionize via secret ballot, choose their own unions and bring appeals before independent judges. But the visiting members of the U.S. Congress want assurances from the Lopez Obrador administration that the law will be sufficiently implemented.

Labor reform in Mexico is required under the new North American trade deal, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico has ratified the agreement, but the United States and Canada have not. Democrats in Congress have suggested they could vote for the deal if it contained worker protections and provisions to boost wages in Mexico. That would provide less incentive for U.S. companies to send jobs south of the border.

Republicans, led by President Donald Trump, already are pushing for approval of the trade deal.

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