New Factory Report: Mex Mode (Mexico)

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova, Tara Mathur, and Ben Hensler
Date:October 5, 2022
Re:New Factory Report: Mex Mode (Mexico)

We are sharing with you a new report on the WRC’s work to investigate and remediate violations of university codes of conduct at the Mex Mode garment factory in Mexico, a longtime manufacturer of collegiate apparel. At the time that the WRC initiated this investigation in December 2021, Mex Mode was disclosed as a supplier of collegiate apparel by the university licensees Fanatics and Lakeshirts, although neither are now sourcing from the factory. Current buyers of noncollegiate apparel from the factory include VF and Carhartt.

The WRC’s current investigation found that, between November 2021 and May 2022, Mex Mode violated its workers’ right to freedom of association by:

  1. Threatening to fire workers for participating in lawful associational activities (forming and participating in a new independent union at the factory);
  2. Intimidating, spying on, and interfering with workers’ associational activities;
  3. Unlawfully refusing to recognize workers’ new independent union as the representative of the employees who joined it; and
  4. Failing to respect workers’ requests to cease deducting dues from their wages for another, pre-existing union at the factory, which had been taken over by a local political organization through the use of violence against employees.

The WRC found that these actions by Mex Mode management violated Mexican labor law, as well as university codes of conduct. Engagement by the WRC with Fanatics, VF, and other buyers has achieved partial remediation, including the factory issuing a statement committing to respect workers’ right to join the new independent union; complying with workers’ requests to stop paying dues to the union that has been hijacked by the violent outside group; and reimbursing workers for dues the company improperly deducted from their wages.

However, as our report details, there are other corrective actions needed to protect workers’ associational rights at Mex Mode that the factory has either not agreed to implement or has implemented only partially. The WRC is pressing buyers, including VF and Carhartt, to require the factory to promptly complete all of these corrective actions. We will update you as developments warrant.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.