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Alvaro GarciaJul 17, 2020 2:27:00 PM2 min read

Labor aspects of the USMCA: Annex 23-A

The new trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, known as USMCA, incorporates new chapters that at the time were not part of the previous trade agreement, now extinct NAFTA. There are labor aspects of the USMCA that are very important to consider.

Among the new chapters added to the USMCA is the labor chapter. Which, in itself is a central part of the new agreement. The labor chapter is number 23. It seeks to reaffirm the commitments made by the three countries in the framework of the 1998 International Labor Organization Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work. The labor chapter also includes an annex to it that is specific to Mexico, the renowned Annex 23-A.


With the incorporation of Annex 23-A into the USMCA, the Mexican government assumes various obligations under the new trade agreement. This labor annex committed Mexico to adopt in our legislation a series of measures and principles related to the effective recognition of collective bargaining and other aspects. Among which the following stand out:

  • The right of workers to participate in collective bargaining. And to organize, form, and join the union of their choice without interference by their employers in union activities.
  • Creation of an independent body responsible for the conciliation and registration of collective agreements.
  • Election of union leaders by personal, free, and secret vote of workers.
  • Verification by the authority that the majority of the workers support their leaders, as well as the content of the negotiated collective agreements and their revisions through a personal, free, and secret vote.
  • Review within four years of all collective agreements.
  • Publication of collective agreements and related documents, and creation of a centralized website for a consultation.

The entry into force of the USMCA invites us to continue the route in our country, but above all, in each work center towards the full implementation of the reform to the federal Labor Law of 2019, which includes the aspects indicated in its articles Annex 23-A.  

The attention of our northern neighbors is that in Mexico, we comply with the new labor regulations. In doing so, not only does it allow us to comply with local legislation but also comply with the labor aspects of the USMCA. It shields us from possible labor dispute resolution mechanisms or even trade sanctions also included in the new agreement.  


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About the Author

Alvaro Garcia, Human Resources Director.

In his role as Human Resources Director, he has become our leading expert in labor law and talent sustainability. The expertise he has proven by working with more than 150 of our clients. Alvaro leads the Talent Development program for the Mexican Maquiladora Association (INDEX).

He is a leading mind in making Prodensa a Great Place For Work since 2011 and Best Workplace for Millennials in 2017.  

A labor law expert, he has been in charge of establishing the HR strategy and compliance of major global companies as they make their incursion into the Mexican Industrial market.  His passion is making sure talent develops and productivity increases along with it.