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Monica Schurtman (2005) "Los ‘Jonkeados’ and the NAALC : The Autotrim/Customtrim Case and its Implications for Submissions Under the NAFTA Labor Side Agreement", Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, 22

15 février 2005

This 10-year history of the first health and safety complaint under the NAFTA labor side agreement demonstrates legal and procedural flaws in the NAFTA Side Agreement (the NAALC), recommends changes in NAFTA labor regulation, and analyzes the limited utility of working for workers’ rights within the NAFTA framework it. The author was personally involved in the process, and provides thick historical detail, including worker quotations. Part II discusses the legal framework of the NAALC. Parts III and IV describe the case and chronicles the workers’ formulation of grievances and their efforts to forge alliances with US and Mexican NGOs. The author describes how workers were shut out of all governmental process, including plant inspections and meetings of company lawyers with a new labor working group. Ultimately, workers’ complaints were never directly addressed, their recommendations about enforcing health and safety standards ignored, and their voice never incorporated into the intergovernmental discussions they prompted. In Section V, the author opines that filing complaints under the NAALC is too costly to be worth the effort, as long as workers are so excluded from the process. Yet she also acknowledges that the process does have gradual effects of norm-building and institutional change. She concludes by advocating that labor activists press for new NAALC interpretations and implementations which are more worker friendly.

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