Labor laws regarding working women in the United States and Mexico will be analyzed by U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman and Mexican Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare Josi Antonio Gonzalez Fernandez through ministerial consultations.
“My discussions with Secretary Gonzalez were very constructive,” said Herman. “I am pleased that we share a commitment to enforce the rights of women workers. I am confident that we will make meaningful progress in these ministerial consultations.”
A review of allegations presented by the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) prompted the call for ministerial consultations in 1997. NAALC charged that Mexican maquiladora employers were requiring women to take pregnancy tests as part of their job application process and that employers were mistreating and then discharging pregnant employees.
Public hearings conducted by the U.S. National Administrative Office (NAO) were held later in 1997, and the organization followed up with a 1998 report that called for ministerial consultations on the issue. Under the consultations agreement, both parties are required to designate representatives to meet and discuss the topics of concern.
The U.S. and Mexico plan to conduct information and outreach sessions around the countries’ common borders, where they will give women information about their rights as workers in both countries.