Mexican official: 80% of labor contracts are pro-company

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s labor secretary acknowledged Monday that 80 to 85% of all labor contracts in the country were signed without approval from the workers they cover.

Corrupt unions in Mexico have long signed contracts with companies before they even open plants, locking in low wages.

Known as “protection contracts,” Labor Secretary Luisa Maria Alcalde said Tuesday such agreements represent “the immense majority of labor contracts” in Mexico.

U.S. legislators say Mexico’s low manufacturing wages of $1 to $1.50 per hour have lured American jobs south of the border.

Mexico has since passed reforms aimed at ensuring secret ballot votes on contracts and effective control by membership over union leaders, but those measures won’t be implemented nation-wide until 2022.

The situation is so bad, Alcalde said, that it eventually hurts even business owners.

Because there has been no transparent process for determining which union really represents workers, fake unions often shake down employers with false threats of strikes.

“We all known about construction projects were not a stone has been laid, and they already get a strike notice from a union that usually doesn’t represent the workers on the project,” she said.

U.S. legislators pressed for improved labor safeguards in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. But many of the reforms enacted for the new deal, which replace the old North American Free Trade Agreement, face an uphill battle against entrenched pro-company pseudo-unions.