GGJ Congress Resolution Against Attacks of Independent Trade Unions in Mexico

RESOLUTION BY GRASSROOTS GLOBAL JUSTICE (GGJ) CONDEMNING THE ATTACKS ON THE INDEPENDENT TRADE UNION MOVEMENT AND FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION IN MEXICO

Mexico's working class has been battered since the 2006 election of Felipe Calderón: 10 million more Mexicans in poverty, real income down by a third for the working and middle classes, unemployment up 3 million, youth unemployment up 7 million and deaths and disappearances as a result of the drug war totaling 50 million since December 2006.

Although the previous administrations -- both PAN and PRI -- had been no friend of labor, the assault on labor rights and independent unions has been more systematic and intense: the discharge of tens of thousands of workers; the freezing of union bank accounts; the failure to recognize democratically elected union leaders; the illegal application of Mexican labor law and blatant violation of international labor standards; the use of criminal charges, incarceration, psychological and physical violence at times leading to serious injury and even death – while the perpetrators enjoy impunity.  As if this were not enough, there have been ongoing attempts in the Mexican Congress to pass extremely regressive labor and national security legislation that would strip workers of existing rights while failing to address current deficiencies.  

Mexico’s few independent and democratic unions are carrying out a heroic struggle wth support from other social movements and the newly formed Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) and its member organizations strongly condemn the ongoing attacks against Mexican unions and labor rights.

We support the demand of the SME for an end to the criminalization of their struggle, the release of the 13 electrical workers being held as political prisoners, the withdrawal of the arrest warrants against the Union’s leaders, and reinstatement of the 16,000 workers who haven't accepted severance without further delay. It is time either for the Federal Electricity Commission to recognize that it is a successor employer and re-hire the workers or for Congress to create a new public electricity company.  The GGJ Congress responds to SME’s current request for solidarity by authorizing GGJ to join as a petitioner in the cases which will be filed in the US and Canada under the labor side agreement of NAFTA in the coming weeks and encourage our member organizations to do so also.

We also support the demands of the SANDAK workers that their strike be declared legal, and the company forced to honor its contract and of the Mexicana workers that the airline be re-opened and workers reinstated.

Similarly, we support the demands of Los Mineros that their elected leadership be recognized, that the government interference in their internal union affairs cease, that troops be withdrawn from Cananea and Pasta de Conchos, and that there be a meaningful investigation into the Pasta de Conchos disaster, that the bodies of the miners be recovered, and that those who are responsible be prosecuted for criminal negligence.
In addition, we support the demands by the National Union of Technical and Professional Workers of PEMEX (UNTyPP) that PEMEX recognize and deal with the union, turn over dues, reinstate the illegally fired workers and halt threats, discharges and harassment of workers who affiliate with the union.

Finally, we support the broad demands for social and economic justice by Mexican unions and social movements and oppose the attempts to legislate regressive labor and national security laws. We will encourage our member organizations to urge that their members of Congress add their support to the Dear Colleague Letter which will be circulated in the US Congress in the coming days.

We commit to continuing to work with the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA), unions and social movements around the world that are standing in solidarity with independent Mexican unions that are resisting the attempts by employers, corrupt unions, and the Mexican government to destroy the independent trade union movement in Mexico and deprive workers of rights established in the Mexican constitution, Federal Labor Law and ILO conventions.