Firm Advises Mexican Steel Maker in Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

October 16, 2013

Mexican workers submit petition to human rights group to protect thousands of jobs threatened by the proposed Mexican Coal Tax.

On October 15, a petition was filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against the Mexican government to address a proposed "Coal Tax" that is expected to have dire consequences for all persons working in the Mexican coal industry if enacted. The petition was submitted by Altos Hornos de México, S.A.B. de C.V. (AHMSA); its subsidiary Minera del Norte, S.A. de C.V. (MINOSA); and others on behalf of themselves and the tens of thousands of workers they employ and represent. AHMSA, represented by Willkie, is a Mexican corporation that operates the largest integrated steel plant in Mexico.

The proposed Coal Tax would have the effect of advantaging PEMEX, the state-owned oil company, at the expense of independent energy producers and could virtually destroy the coal industry in Mexico and the thousands of jobs that it represents. AHMSA argues that the proposed tax is in violation of several rights guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights and by the San Salvador Protocol. The petition states that the proposed tax "would not help the environment at all but instead unlawfully singles out the Mexican coal industry for discriminatory treatment while advancing the interests of state-owned oil companies. Absent the Commission’s intervention, Mexico will deprive thousands of Mexican workers of their right to work for private companies instead of the government."

The matter is being handled by partners Richard Bernstein, Jeffrey Korn and Maurice Lefkort, and associate Kevin Brown.

Read the Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights