Mexico: New Guidelines on Union Democracy Released

On July 26, 2022, the Governing Board of Mexico’s Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration unanimously approved the General Guidelines for Union Democracy Procedures, which standardize labor relations criteria for unions, companies and the Federal Labor Center itself.  This document, which has gone somewhat unnoticed, addresses relevant aspects of union organizing and will be mandatory the day after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Federation (publication still pending).

The following are the most notable aspects of the new guidelines:

  1. The guidelines are applicable only to the election of union leadership and union sections, the execution of the initial collective bargaining agreement or the revision of a collective bargaining agreement, and not for determining the legitimacy of the union itself.
  2. The position of "Union Electoral Observer" is created, which will be the person accredited by the Center to participate in the observation of any procedure regarding union democracy.
  3. Voting electronically is allowed when any of the following circumstances occurs: (a) voters’ place of work or residence is geographically dispersed, (b) the vote involves a union with a massive affiliation, (c) the vote is intended to be carried out simultaneously in two or more states, and (d) when any other circumstance that justifies its use is proven.
  4. The use of cameras in the workplaces during the processes of union democracy is specified, clarifying that there should be no electronic devices with which the voter or any other person can photograph or record the vote or violate its secrecy.

The new document is the result of two years’ worth of union election analysis and of the various claims found in labor complaints filed in the framework of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), under the rapid response mechanism. Although it is questionable whether the guidelines exceed Federal Labor Law regulations and are therefore unconstitutional, the document is undoubtedly a useful instrument in the face of the changing era of labor relations that Mexico is experiencing.

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.