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Mexico City, Mexico - November 12

Strategy Session - Article 28 of the Federal Labor Law of Mexico

As follow-up to the publication of our Article 28 report, Mexico Program Director Griselda Vega held a group strategy session in Mexico City.  The focus of the meeting was to bring together leaders in the migration and labor worlds to discuss: Article 28 of the Federal Labor Law of Mexico, which is intended to protect Mexican nationals as they travel abroad to work; the changes proposed under the new Labor Reform in Mexico; and figure out collaborative strategies to challenge the Mexican government to enforce this 40+ year old legal provision.

The strategy session brought together twelve organizations, from international unions to human rights and religious organizations, who focus on migrant issues in Mexico, the exploitation migrants face while they are still in their home country, and the complete disregard from the Mexico government to enforce the current laws.  The participants were briefed on the current provisions, but we were also briefed on the proposed Labor Reform that has gutted Article 28 and essentially removed all the enforcement mechanisms that the worker once had to defend his or her labor rights.  Some of the most egregious proposed changes include: that all labor contracts must contain a provision in which the employer affirms to be subject to Mexican legal jurisdiction, if the clause is not within the labor contract the employer may not be subject to any litigation; another provision proposes that instead of having the Labor Department overseeing and enforcing compliance of the registration of recruitment agencies, as is currently the case, the recruitment agencies and recruiters would be charged with overseeing themselves.

The participants discussed and strategized around the best plan of attack to move forward in such a challenging political environment.  A working group was formed, and there was consensus on two approaches – a litigation strategy aimed at the proposed legal reform itself, and continued education efforts with the communities to raise awareness of the issue and the various protections that exist when facing labor exploitation.  The working group will meet every few months to share updates on the current strategy and further the discussion to collaboratively educate our communities and increase our resources and impact.

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