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Word of the day: agredado

16 December 2019

He’s got diplomatic immunity.
He’s got special powers no one can see.
Send in the envoy…

(Warren Zevon)

I never heard, or saw, the word “agredado” until today… when it showed up not just on the front page of the morning newspaper, but in the first four stories in the paper, and a couple of times in national news reports on radio and TV. Basically saying Mexico don’t need so stinking agregados.

Which are “attaches”… diplomatic representatives, or, specifically in today’s news, “agredados laborales”, “labor attaches”, a never heard of before this weekend diplomatic post, seemingly invented by the Democratic Party members of the US House of Representatives, or by the Trump Administration, or … well… somebody in the US, in a last minute addition to the revised NAFTA treaty (USMECA in English, T-MEC, in Spanish and French).

What it comes down to is that the Mexican legislature approved the treaty early, but the US congress refused to ratify it, without some sop to their own base. Unfortunately, in the spirit of Woodrow Wilson, they turned paternalistic and “demanded” that US “labor monitors” oversee compliance with certain provisions related to labor standards in Mexico. You know, the country that was the first to mandate paid weekends, put the basic labor code into its constitution in 1916 and is now governed (and holds a majority in both houses of Congress) by a pro-labor, socialist, party.

The US has proposed these “monitors” be diplomatic personnel… agredados laborales”… which, naturally, the Mexican foreign ministry will not, under any circumstance, permit. It’s not that there aren’t labor violations from time to time (a lot of times to times to be honest about it), but that Mexico traditionally has, as have most nations, rejected foreign control oer their internal affairs. Mexico, with better reasons than most (remember the Drug War?), certainly would not allow some foreign diplomat (who is likely to side with who do you think in a dispute between workers and management in a US owned business?) to dictate dispute resolutions… especially when the treaty Mexico approved called for a regular arbitration process involving two representatives from each of the T-MEC states involved in a dispute, and one mutally accepted arbitrator from a disinterested third country. That is, in a dispute between Canadian labor and a US management, there would be two Canadians, two people from the US, and one from… say, Argentina or France or Gabon, or wherever… a total outsider.

The arrogance of the US Democrats, and frankly racist assumption that Mexicans will somehow “cheat” unless stalwart American are watching is bad enough, but the proposal also stinks of absolute ignorance of what is happening in this country, and what labor protections already exist.

Let’s put it this way.. can Mexico now insist they won’t go along until the US includes domestics in the Social Security/National Health system (oh, that’s right… the US doesn’t have National Health), that all workers are entitled to two weeks of vacation, maternity leave, sick days, and an end of the year extra paycheck? Are the bills in the US House (as there are in the Mexican Chanmber of Deputies, waiting on a vote) to cover “outsourced workers” (Kelly Girls and the like) as employees, entitled to the same benefits (including the right to unionize and/or strike) as any other worker?

Can Mexico insist its diplomatic corps can order US companies to comply with Mexican labor law?

One grace note. A foreign ministry official pointed out that the ministry has the right to declare any foreign diplomat “persona non grata” and doesn’t have to give a reason. Should the US try to send us those new “agregados laborales” they may not need more than an overnight bag when then enter the country.

One Comment leave one →
  1. norm permalink
    24 December 2019 8:29 am

    Off topic: Merry Christmas. Thank you for your efforts, a gift that lasts all year.

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