Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
On February 24, 2017, Mexico's Official Gazette published the Decree issued by President Enrique Peña Nieto amending Articles 107 and 123 of the Constitution of the United Mexican States, which deal with labor proceedings and collective bargaining.
The Decree includes the following reforms:
- Labor disputes will now be processed before federal or state labor courts that will be part of the Judicial Power of the Federation of each State. These courts will replace the current administrative Conciliation and Arbitration Labor Boards that resolve employer-employee disputes and are part of the Executive Branch of the Government.
- The Decree establishes a required pre-litigation conciliation hearing held at specialized and impartial Conciliation Centers that will be created in each state. The conciliation stage will consist of a single mandatory hearing, with date and time expeditiously scheduled. Subsequent conciliation meetings will be held at the request of the parties.
- At the federal level, the conciliatory function will be performed by an independent agency, which will also be responsible for the registration of local- and federal-level collective bargaining agreements, registration of unions, and all related administrative processes. This agency will have its own legal authority, assets and liabilities, and full technical, operational, budgetary decision and management autonomy.
- In terms of collective bargaining, the Decree ensures free, individual, and confidential employee voting for resolution of inter-union disputes, execution of a collective bargaining agreement, and election of union leaders.
In accordance with these constitutional reforms, Mexico's Congress and state legislatures must correspondingly amend secondary laws to conform to the Decree within one year of enactment. This means that the Federal Labor Law should be reformed within one year to adapt to the reforms contained in the Decree. Until these changes are made, both individual and collective labor disputes (as well as disputes between unions, the registration and administration of collective bargaining agreements, and the internal labor regulations) will continue to be administered by the local and federal Conciliation and Arbitration Boards.