Updates and Call to Action on Mexican Labor Crisis
Posted on Fri, 07/09/2010 - 4:34pm
THE MEXICAN LABOR CRISIS
The Calderon government is attacking the independent/democratic unions (which are the main force for working class progress in the country) on various fronts:
1) The miners. The government has declared the president of the union illegitimate and a criminal after he insisted on investigating a mine disaster. He is living in Vancouver BC to avoid arrest and running the union from there. The miners have occupied the giant copper mine in Cananea, Sonora for almost 3 years over horrendous safety conditions. Grupo Mexico which owns the mine has refused to correct these conditions and has been able to get the government to rule the strike/occupation nonexistent and use police and the Army to dislodge the miners' occupation with guns and tear-gas. (Note: the 1910 Mexican Revolution was started in a similar situation at the Cananea mine.)
2) The Mexican government recently dissolved one state owned electrical power company, sending federal police into multiple facilities and ejecting at gunpoint the members of the independent Mexican Electrical Workers union (SME), firing them and giving the ownership to another state-owned company with a much more conservative union. This union, the SME, has been in the forefront of the resistance to privatization of the power generating industry. Some members of the union are on hunger strike. The struggle now focuses on whether workers should have the right to their old jobs under the new company.
3) Oil workers have been forming an independent union to rival the notoriously corrupt official union. The executive board of the new union has been fired and workers have been forced to resign from their newly formed union and request that it be dissolved -- or be fired.
4) Independent unions in Mexico have an uphill battle. They must deal with "protection contracts" that protect employers and are signed without workers' knowledge, labor boards that are stacked against them, and government interference in their internal affairs. As if this weren't enough, there is a major push to "reform" Mexico's labor law. This neo-liberal reform would make it virtually impossible to organize an independent union or strike.
At meetings around the G20 in Toronto and our PMA at the Social Forum in Detroit resolutions were passed and agreements made that will be leading to requests for action from groups in GGJ.
In Tornonto, virtually all of the independent trade unions in Mexico agreed to coordinate with eachother and representatives from unions in Canada, the US, and some international federations also agreed to work together to defend the independent trade unions in Mexico. At the USSF we affirmed the Toronto declaration and agreed to help coordinate support from social movements.
THERE WILL BE LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRASSROOTS
ACTION. Maybe visits to Mexican Consuls, letter writing, fact finding delegations, pressuring congress and/or President Obama? We'll let you know.
Many in Mexico believe the Calderon government was installed by vote counting fraud. These attacks by the Government, and the corporations behind it, if successful, will result in causing even more misery and powerlessness in Mexico which will lead to more immigration of desperate people that US corporations will exploit and use to divide the working class here.
for up to date information on the struggles go to: