Important changes in union structure

Note published on August 22 in Periodistas Unidos, Opinión [Opinion] Section by Jorge Melendez.
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With a participation of 90 percent of the members, the result was that 55 percent (three thousand 214) voted “no” and 44 percent (two thousand and 62) voted “yes”.

There will be a term of 20 days to make objections, where the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS) will determine whether they are valid or not, and the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JFCA) will give the final result.

Of course, the CTM coyotes, as stated by lawyer Óscar de la Vega, have already challenged the results; although others, in this case specialist Mario Echegaray, say that this type of innovative practices will bring certainty for investment and make it possible that there will be no rejections of the products sent into the United States, a clause included in the new USMCA signed during this six-year presidential term.

The voting process was one of the most closely monitored ones, as even the INE [National Electoral Institute] participated, which was necessary, as a prior vote, in April of this year, was challenged due to multiple dirty practices, very frequent in Mexico; the annulment of votes, acarreo [physically bringing important numbers of voters by promising something in return in order to obtain votes], stuffing ballot boxes [with votes in one’s favor].

This new way of having workers decide who their union leaders will be is included in the international laws on the North America Treaty. Something that could be seen coming because, as noted years ago by researcher Paul Virilio, in globalization we find the “end of geography”, given that local processes, even though one may insist on a deeply rooted nationalism, necessarily become international.

In Silao, for example, Silverado trucks are manufactured, as well as other General Motors trucks, and a great number of components from multiple countries are used, even though the vast majority of the workforce is Mexican. But we are faced with a global process.

On the other hand, workers will now be able to choose one or several unions to represent them, something that was an old dream for advanced Mexican workers; not being tied to a single organization, which never informed them of its actions and used their fees to get rich to the fullest extent, as done by Fidel Velázquez, Joaquín Gamboa Pascoe, Francisco Pérez Ríos (all of them belonging to the CTM [Confederation of Mexican Workers]) and as it is done in many places, by supposed leaders of teachers to construction workers.

There is an aberrant case: Víctor Flores, supposed leader of railway workers for 25 years, allowed the sale of this important means of locomotion by Ernesto Zedillo to the United States (the President of Mexico at that time, he later turned out to be an investor in the Yankee company), which disappeared it for all citizens and is only used for industry and the transportation of grain.  Flores has never conducted an election and continues to handle the different emoluments that should be received by workers and the widows of railway employees.

But we have cases everywhere, and this example should be used to free oil industry workers, construction workers, professors and other important guilds.

Opposed to what the Guanajuato workers were told in order to frighten them, the ones who opt for a different leader and union central will have the same rights, benefits and working conditions. And now they will be able to decide who their representatives are, something that has been very difficult since the creation of union centers, particularly the CTM, founded in 1938, during the six-year presidential term of  Lázaro Cárdenas, and whose first leader was Vicente Lombardo Toledano; despite the fact that their slogan was: “A society without classes”, it was perverted with the arrival of Fidel Velázquez in 1941, who was their leader until his death in 1997. More than half a century in power by blood, layoffs and low pay for workers!

We hope that this new way of electing leaders in Mexican unionism has a good ending. And, above all, that it is the spark that sets fire to the field in order for the charros [protection unions] to stop leading the country and the working class. Something that is provided for in the new 2019 Labor Law.

A small step that could open a different world for those who have built Mexico.