Since the entry into force of the labor reform in Mexico, one of the most relevant elements of the changes to the regulation in collective bargaining matters has to do with the certificate of representativeness, a tool that fosters transparency in workers’ representativeness processes.
Through the process established in the Federal Labor Law of 2019, it is guaranteed that the union that requests a certificate of representativeness truly has the support of a minimum of 30% of the workers, thus eliminating old extortion practices, and freedom of association is strengthened.
In this sense, we have seen a very positive performance by the Federal Center for Conciliation and Labor Registration, as they are truly exercising control and verification of compliance with these requirements, providing certainty to workers, unions, and companies in regard to the faithfulness of these applications.
Likewise, we have seen an important increase in the number of applications for certificates of representativeness throughout this term of the implementation of the reform, which means that, today, it is a mechanism that is understood by both workers and unions and, therefore, the development of authentic union activity will surely be more sustainable, to the extent that these verification processes are maintained.
According with the labor intelligence report prepared by the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm, and based on information provided by the Conciliation Center, more than 2,400 applications for certificates of representativeness have been filed to date, the majority of which have been filed in the State of Mexico, Mexico City, Jalisco, Nuevo León, and Querétaro.
In 2022, almost 2.4 times more certificates were requested than in the previous year, which reflects the maturity that this mechanism of transparency in collective representativeness is acquiring; this mechanism became, as of May 1 of 2023, the activation scheme of union life in companies.
As for the sectors with the greatest incidence of applications, we have construction, with more than a third of all certificates followed, quite far behind, by the commerce sector, in which we find a wide variety of types of businesses, from gas stations to supermarket chains. The food sector also appears, including businesses that go from restaurants to companies that manufacture various types of pantry items and groceries.
A sector that is undoubtedly a part of this list is the automotive sector, mainly represented by auto parts manufacturers and highly publicized cases of assembly plants, which have even been a part of the rapid response mechanism for labor complaints established in the USMCA.
Lastly, we find the metallurgical, steel works and chemical industry sector on the list. It is noteworthy that many of these branches of economy are also part of the prioritary sectors within the framework of the free trade agreement with the United States and Canada.
Union presence in companies has always been cause for concern rather than for joy, even in those companies that have good working conditions. This is the result of an unbalanced exercise of worker representativeness that is not oriented toward the sustainability of organizations, as it is often moved more by political or economic interests.
However, we have the presence of some independent unions in Mexico, which have understood their responsible role as spokepersons for the workers and who, as a group, have been able to create viable work environments for productivity, while improving the quality of life of the workers.
Having mature union organizations that respond to the challenges faced by companies with proposals is truly a competitive advantage in any organization. Thus, the responsibility of the government, companies and union federations is becoming increasingly important for ensuring the development and preparation of all of the participants in labor relationships, as it will be the only way of guaranteeing Mexico’s competitiveness within the global economic framework.