In an unprecedented event, unionized workers of the state company, Petróleos Mexicanos, will vote in a free, direct and secret manner through an electronic system on this coming January 31 to elect their leader or secretary general, said the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare, Luisa María Alcalde during the morning conference of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Until now, the appointment of the leader of one of the most important and powerful unions in Mexico was conducted in secrecy and with clear intervention by the government and Pemex’s general management.
Through this procedure, government and business authorities prevented the union from getting away from their control and the possibility of a strike breaking out, something that has not happened for at least seven decades.
Some experts consider the sole fact of the vote that will be conducted in a few weeks progress in union democratization in Mexico, as long as the worker’s freedom and secrecy at the time of exercising their vote prevails, stated Ricardo Martínez, founding partner of the De La Vega & Martínez Rojas Law Firm, a legal services Firm in labor, social security and immigration matters.
“The system is designed to enable the participation by the new Federal Center for Labor Conciliation and Registration [the new decentralized public agency] that keeps the records of unions and collective bargaining agreements and has the power, not to intervene, but to structure and be present; I do not see this as being invasive, I believe that it is good because it can help in the election, while the system guarantees secrecy for the worker”, added the expert in labor matters.
With the personal vote that will take place on January 31 and which arises from the labor reforms approved by legislators in Mexico over the last few years, particularly the one of May 2019, as well as the signature of the new free trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which requires that unionized workers in Mexico elect their representatives in a free, direct and secret manner, as established by Mexican Law, the 89 thousand unionized oil workers will apparently have, for the first time in their history, the possibility of doing this in regard to the leadership of the National Union of Oil Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTPR).
Voting will be conducted electronically through the system created for this purpose by the Department of Labor, known as SIRVOLAB. Using this system, unionized workers from the different facilities that Pemex has in different states of the country, from Yucatán to Baja California Sur, passing through Guanajuato and Hidalgo, will be able to issue their electronic vote in an individual, direct and secret manner.
Martínez, of De La Vega & Martínez Rojas, added that the new system must ensure compliance with the new constitutional regulation on free, secret and personal voting by the worker, which will set a precedent for other votes and collective bargaining agreements that are also highly important such as the case of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) and the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
“Let it be noted that people, the workers in this case, must know how the election will be conducted and, additionally, that we can replicate this in other unions to guarantee free, secret voting and clean elections. Let the workers be the ones who, without any pressure or threats, without receiving any “gifts”, can elect their representatives in a democratic manner”, said López Obrador himself in his daily meeting with reporters and social network users.
The vote takes place after Carlos Romero Deschamps renounced the leadership of the union in 2019 after 26 years at its helm and, afterward, in March 2021, ceasing to be an active worker at Pemex of “his own free will” and at the request of the current government.
The results of the vote to elect the new union leader will be made known on the same day in which the vote takes place, but at night – on January 31 -, added Alcalde.
Below, Sentido Común lists the steps to be followed in the election process for the election of the secretary general of the SNTPR:
- The call for the vote of the union leader will be issued on December 6.
- Afterward, from December 7 to 17, unionized workers will register at their headquarters in person with the objective of obtaining their username and password – the credentials that will allow them to access the SIRVOLAB electronic voting system to issue their vote.
- After the personal registration of the workers, there will be a month of vacation.
- From January 17 to 19, union and labor authorities will register the candidates for the position of secretary general.
- From January 20 to 29, registered candidates, who must be active union workers with a seniority of 10 years, will conduct their campaigns to earn the position of secretary general.
- January 30 will be an election silence day to allow oil workers to reflect on their vote.
- January 31 will be the day in which voting will take place and the results of the vote will be published on that same day, at night, in the union web page.
- The Department of Labor will provide 400 employees to conduct this election.