35 Members of Congress Write Labor Secretary Chao Demanding Action on Autotrim/Customtrim

May 7, 2002

Ms. Elaine Chao
Secretary, U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20210

Re: The Case of Autotrim and Customtrim, NAO Submission 2000-01

Dear Secretary Chao:

We are writing to indicate our concern and to request additional information regarding the petition to the National Administrative Office (NAO) on behalf of workers at two Mexican factories, Autotrim and Customtrim, owned by U.S.-based Breed Technologies.

We commend the U.S. NAO for its April 6, 2001, report which concluded that the Mexican government had persistently failed to enforce its own health and safety regulations at these plants and called for ministerial consultations to address these problems. However, we are concerned that during nearly a year since this report was issued, the U.S. Department of Labor has produced little evidence that these consultations have yielded concrete results. We feel that this is unacceptable, particularly in light of the serious work-related injuries and illnesses suffered by workers at Autotrim and Customtrim, as documented in the NAO report.

If indeed progress has been made through the consultation process, we ask that you provide to us a detailed report on these developments, including meeting dates, names of participants, and outcomes. We believe that it is particularly important for members of the U.S. Congress and the public to have a clear picture of U.S. enforcement of labor rights provisions under NAFTA, especially given the Bush Administration's efforts to expand NAFTA through the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement.

If the ministerial consultations have not produced adequate remedies, we urge you to take further action as quickly as possible. Article 23 of the North American Accord on Labor Cooperation (NAALC) allows for the establishment of an Evaluation Committee of Experts to study and make recommendations regarding cases where consultations have proved unsuccessful. We strongly urge you to consider requesting the Ministerial Council of the Commission for Labor Cooperation to convene such a committee and to pursue a productive conclusion to this case.

We look forward to receiving a complete documentation of your efforts to date on this complaint. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and for your prompt reply.


1. George Miller
2. Peter Visclosky
3. James McGovern
4. Tammy Baldwin
5. Bernard Sanders
6. Corrine Brown
7. Sam Farr
8. Dennis Kucinich
9. Barney Frank
10. Tom Lantos
11. Bill Pascrell
12. Rosa DeLauro
13. David Bonior
14. Neil Abercrombie
15. Pete Stark
16. Michael McNulty
17. Louise Slaughter
18. Patrick Kennedy
19. Hilda Solis
20. Dale Kildee
21. Wiliam Delahunt
22. Peter DeFazio
23. Michael Honda
24. Barbara Lee
25. Lane Evans
26. Cynthia McKinney
27. Susan Davis
28. Stephen Lynch
29. William Lipinski
30. John Tierney
31. Robert Brady
32. Lynn Woolsey
33. Lloyd Doggett
34. Charles Gonzalez
35. Sherrod Brown