Article 28 of the Federal Labor Act in Mexico: Does it protect Mexican workers abroad?

Article 28 of the Federal Labor Act in Mexico: Does it protect Mexican workers abroad? The objective

 of this study is to determine whether Article 28 of the Federal Labor Law of Mexico is a viable legal remedy in situations in which the minimum standards contained in that provision are violated by individual recruiters, employment agencies, the foreign employer or the Mexican government.

In 2010, more than 103 thousand foreigners came to work in the United States on an H-2, where over 80% of workers with these visas are Mexican. The recruitment of these workers to work abroad is carried out, in general, by individuals (recruiters), and to a lesser extent by recruitment agencies that operate in Mexican territory largely within a framework of secrecy. Although, according to the law, these players must be registered with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

According to testimonies collected by the Global Workers Defender Network in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, it was found that Mexican agricultural workers have paid anywhere from $1,000 up to $4,800 pesos to get an H-2A visa, a visa which in legal terms has no price. According to other sources, we know that this happens in a larger number of states and in higher dollar amounts.

This report presents a serious issue: the absence of any reported case of the application of Article 28 despite continuing illegalities committed by recruiters or employers who hire their workers in Mexico. In addition to the findings resulting from this report, there has not been one single authority with information about the intended applicability of this article. Given this reality, there is the question about the actual role Mexico plays in protecting Mexican workers abroad. Since Article 28 is the legal instrument capable of establishing and enforcing what the minimum rights for a Mexican working abroad should be, in addition to delineating what requirements employers or recruiters must meet. This gives the Mexican State powers to intervene in the procurement process where Mexicans are required to go to other countries.

This report is aimed primarily at human rights defender and advocates of the rights of migrant workers in both Mexico and the United States, and Canada. The ultimate goal is to provide the information needed to establish whether the provisions of Article 28 of the LFT are dead letter, or if instead, they provide an underutilized mechanism which deserves support as part of its Mexican legal arsenal. At the same time, this work appeals to the Mexican government to make good on its responsibilities regarding the labor rights of migrant workers on visas.


August 3, 2012; 10 AM

Press Conference and Report Release 

Centro Prodh

Mexico City, D.F.


Press Conference:
Panel: Presentación del informe “El Artículo 28 de la Ley Federal del Trabajo vigente en México: ¿Protege o no a los mexicanos?
La Jornada (available only in Spanish): "Los jornaleros mexicanos que van a laborar a Estados Unidos o Canadá, contratados por empresas que les ofrecen visas de trabajo temporales, están expuestos a gran cantidad de abusos, muchos de los cuales nunca son visibilizados ni atendidos por el gobierno nacional, advirtió la organización Global Workers Justice Alliance." 
Noticia MVS (available only in Spanish): "La organización no gubernamental Global Workers Justice Alliance...sostuvo que la reforma laboral que pretende impulsar Enrique Peña Nieto, en caso de ratificado como Presidente de México, más allá de beneficiar a los trabajadores tiene el propósito de vulnerar los derechos individuales y colectivos entre los que se encuentran la estabilidad en el empleo y la asociación sindical." 
Centro Prodh (available only in Spanish): "El Estado mexicano tiene la posibilidad legal de proteger a los connacionales, utilizando el artículo 28 de la Ley Federal Del Trabajo (LFT), mismo que contiene elementos jurídicos que establece los derechos mínimos a garantizar a los y las trabajadores mexicanos en el extranjero." 
Noticias Grupo Garza Limón:  Redistribution of the article from the national newspaper La Jornada.

Continental Traiding S.A:  Redistribution of the article from the national newspaper La Jornada.

La Silla Rota:  "Peña requiere 800 mmdp Para cumplir."


Global Workers Justice Alliance
2 012

© 2012 | Global Workers Justice Alliance | 789 Washington Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11238 | | (646)351-1160