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WELCOME TO THE ARCHIVE (1994-2014) OF THE MAQUILA SOLIDARITY NETWORK. For current information on our ongoing work on the living wage, women's labour rights, freedom of association, corporate accountability and Bangladesh fire and safety, please visit our new website, launched in October, 2015:

NAO Puebla

Will the NAFTA labour side agreement hold the Mexican government accountable?

Public Communicatioon 2003-1(Puebla)

Public Meetings in Washington and Toronto

On April 1, 2004 in Washington DC, and on May 28, 2004 in Toronto, a tri-national delegation testified at public meetings convened by the National Administrative Offices (NAO) of the U.S. and Canadian governments. The purpose of these hearings was to gather detailed information regarding the labour rights violations and failure of the Mexican government to uphold its own labour laws documented in Public Communication 2003-1 (Puebla). This submission, known as the "Puebla Case", is the joint complaint presented to both NAOs by the Worker Assistance Center (CAT), United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) under the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC), better known as the NAFTA labour side agreement.

The complaint addresses worker rights violations at two factories located in the state of Puebla, Mexico: Matamoros Garment and Tarrant Ajalpan. It documents problems with failure to pay wages owing or legal overtime pay, long hours, and persistent health and safety violations. Those who tried to organize independent unions to address these problems were unjustly denied union certification and faced mass firings, harassment, and intimidation. In both cases, workers' attempts to resolve the violations via the appropriate legal channels were unsuccessful, whether due to the inability of the Mexican government's local Labour and Conciliation Boards to uphold Mexican labour law, or to their refusal to do so. In sum, the complainants allege that the Mexican government failed to fulfill its responsibilities concerning NAALC Principles 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.

Read more about the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC)

May 11, 2005

NAO Puebla Chronology

Chronology of Public Communication 2003-1 (Puebla) to US and Canadian National Administrative Offices (NAO)

September 30, 2003: The Worker Assistance Center (CAT) from Puebla, Mexico and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) submit Public Communication 2003-1 (Puebla) to the U.S. NAO based on the case of Matamoros Garment.

September 22, 2004

Puebla Complaints Affirmed in U.S. NAO Report

A summary of the Canadian and US reports on the Puebla case.

May 28, 2004

Recommendations to the Canadian NAO in the Puebla case

  1. Conciliation and Arbitration Boards (CABs) publicly disclose union registrations (registros) and collective bargaining agreements (both important transparency measures currently not practiced by the Mexican government);
  2. CABs grant registros in a transparent manner in accordance with Federal Labor Law;
  3. A tri-national oversight committee be established, composed of labor rights experts with the power to investigate and issue reports regarding allegations of violations of the first three NAALC principles (freedom of association and pro

May 28, 2004

Requested Actions for the Canadian and U.S. NAO in the Puebla case

Actions that workers are asking for from the NAO

April 1, 2004

Testimonies from the NAO’s Public Meetings on the Puebla case

NAO Public meetingsThose who provided testimony in Washington were Nilay Vora (USAS), Robert Jeffcott (MSN), Sal

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