AFL-CIO Endorses Right to Work Protections… for Mexican Workers?

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The nation’s largest labor federation, the AFL-CIO, came out recently in favor of “right to work” protections—but only for workers in Mexican factories. The AFL-CIO made the announcement as it actively tries to take away those work protections from U.S. workers who already have them.

The labor federation alleged in a press release last week that Tridonex, an auto parts factory in the Mexican city of Silao and a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Cardone Industries, violated the rights of workers who were trying to vote out a corrupt union. Two days later, President Joe Biden’s U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced it would seek a review of the factory for violating the labor rights provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade.

How, precisely, were the workers’ rights violated? According to the AFL-CIO’s press release, “Tridonex has refused workers’ legal demand to stop withholding their dues and transferring them to the protection union.”

Ensuring workers have the right to withhold paying dues to a union they don’t support is the definition of the right to work. That is literally all the laws do: Leave it up to the individual worker to decide whether to back a union. Nothing in the laws prevent workers from voluntarily joining unions they favor.

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