LAMERG 2018 U.S. Meeting Focuses on Taking Advantage of New Flexibility in Uncertain Latin America Labor Environment

June 08, 2018

Member companies of our global ally, the Latin America Employee Relations Group, met in Miami to discuss how they are leveraging the new flexibility provided to employers by recent labor law changes in Brazil and Argentina, while also preparing for the rest of the region to take a leftward direction in many upcoming national elections.

In Brazil, labor lawyers are seeing judges who are tougher on litigants and witnesses attempting to make false or exaggerated claims, as well as a decrease in the number of labor and employment cases in the courts.  Companies were encouraged to act now on the issues of automatic union dues deductions and the use of independent contractors to help define precedent in their operations.

In Argentina, as in Brazil, more judges with a focus on reform have been appointed, leading to more employer-friendly decisions in the labor courts.  The reforms have allowed companies to better manage plant closures and negotiate sectoral agreements with the government’s assistance in encouraging terms that promote productivity and competitiveness.

In other parts of the region, however, the trend is leaning left.  Non-union employees may now form a group to negotiate with employers in Chile, and while Mexico has not yet released details on its labor reform, companies are preparing for increased involvement from international unions.  Venezuela, meanwhile, has shown that its government is willing to enforce punitive measures, including jail time, at the lowest levels of management for any company decisions that reduce headcount or result in facility closures.  LAMERG consultants predict that many of the upcoming elections across the region will lean toward leftist candidates—if not in this term, then in the next.