The Office of the Trade Representative and the US Department of Labor have uncovered instances where labor rights were not upheld at Atento call centers located in Hidalgo.

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The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Interagency Labor Committee for Monitoring and Enforcement, co-chaired by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Office of the Trade Representative, has requested the government of Mexico to conduct a review at Atento call centers in Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo. This request comes after the committee found evidence of workers’ rights being denied at these centers.

The committee’s request follows a petition filed by the Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana labor union on December 18, alleging violations of workers’ freedom of association rights by Atento Servicios, S.A. de C.V. The petition was filed under the USMCA’s Rapid Response Labor Mechanism and claims that Atento unlawfully terminated workers for union organizing and engaged in actions that interfered with union activities. A U.S. government investigation found evidence of these abuses, leading to the request for review.

Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee stated, “The U.S. government’s investigation revealed egregious employer conduct at the Hidalgo facility. This conduct constituted retaliation against workers for their union activities and interference with union organizing. This is unacceptable.” She also emphasized the importance of the Mexican labor law reform and the USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism in addressing these types of violations.

Ambassador Katherine Tai also expressed the United States’ commitment to using the RRM to support workers and protect their rights to organize and join their preferred union. She stated, “The USMCA ensures that workers can freely select the union of their choice without compromising their job positions or work conditions.”

Under the USMCA, Mexico’s government has ten days to decide whether to conduct a review and 45 days to investigate the claims and present its findings. Atento, a Spanish multinational corporation, operates two call center facilities in Hidalgo that provide customer service for clients of BBVA bank. The U.S. government looks forward to working closely with the Government of Mexico to resolve these concerns in the strategic sector. To learn more about the Department of Labor’s international work, visit their website.  

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