Mexican avocado company ordered to pay reparations in labor case

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Mexican avocado company ordered to pay reparations in labor case

Mexican avocado company RV Fresh Foods faces reparation orders, handed down by Mexico’s Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS), following a labor investigation into workers' freedom of association and collective bargaining rights at its Uruapan plant.

This comes after a Feb. 16 request from the United States, asking the Mexican government to probe labor practices by the supplier in Michoacán, the country’s top avocado producer. The inquiry was presented under a trilateral trade agreement between the two countries and Canada (UMSCA).

In a joint statement with the Secretariat of Economy (SE), the STPS said the inquiry found grounds for violations of Mexican labor laws. 

The results of the month-long investigation were shared with the U.S. government on April 1.

The violations relate to “employer interference” in union affairs aimed at hindering the free development of the union's activities.

Specifically, RV Fresh Foods is accused of restricting access by the National Central Confederation (Cocena) to carry out union activities within the company and intervening in the election of union delegates. 

Additionally, and in agreement with Cocena, RV Fresh Foods made a monthly payment to the union in lieu of union dues.  

RV Fresh Foods shared a neutrality statement on March 8, after the investigation was first announced. In it, the firm reassured its commitment to labor rights, union neutrality, and non-interference, as well as a zero-tolerance policy for these transgressions.

“Our goal is, and has always been, to promote a work environment where every RV Fresh Foods employee has the certainty that their rights are respected and valued,” the statement read.

The company participated in two conciliation meetings with Cocena, organized by the STPS and mediated by the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration, to address the union's requests.

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