More than half a million workers have joined a union

Note published on May 31 in El Economista, Empresas [Companies] Section by María del Pilar Martínez.
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In the first quarter of this year, 4 million 869,045 workers were part of a union; the labor reform has been an incentive, the STPS says.

532,357 workers have joined a union organization during the course of the past four years, reported the Department of Labor and Social Welfare (STPS); and 4 million 869,045 workers are part of a union in the first trimester of 2022.

Information analyzed by the National Commission on Minimum Wages (Conasami) with data provided by the Inegi [National Institute of Statistics and Geography], pointed out that the drop in the rate of unionization has slowed down since 2018, because in 2005, when the survey first started to be conducted, the percentage was of 16.8% and it decreased to 12% by 2018, prior to the amendments of the Federal Labor Law.

In this sense, the president of the Conasami, Luis Munguía, said that with the calculation of the data published in the ENOE [National Survey of Occupation and Employment] it is only possible to know how many workers belong to a union; not, however, what union or workers’ union the belong to.

It is clear, however, said Munguía, that the labor reform of May 2019, after promoting union democracy, has encouraged workers to trust the mechanism a little more and to join a union organization.

From 2005, when the survey first started to be conducted and until 2018, the percentage of dependent workers that said that they belonged to a union decreased steadily from almost 17% to 12 percent. Unionization, as of the first quarter of 2022 is of 12.7%; therefore, according to the INEGI, there are 32 million 878,346  workers in the country that are not part of a union.

The STPS declared that the labor reform “strengthens the bargaining power of the workers”, since the core of the new labor relationships requires the participation of the workers to comply with requirements such as certificates of representativeness, which require 30% of the total votes; collective bargaining agreements and their contractual revisions and their election processes must be conducted via personal, free, direct and secret voting.
Independent unionism

Oscar de la Vega, partner at the De la Vega & Martínez Rojas Firm, said that in the last three years there has been a constant change in the labor arena; on the one hand, attention must be paid to the behavior of the existence of inactive collective bargaining agreements also known as protection collective bargaining agreements, which will disappear; but, on the other, attention must also be paid to the fact of the growth of independent unions.

“Now we have a more representative unionism that is attractive to workers, that is why we are seeing the constant creation of independent unions in various branches; these unions are already playing significant roles in different areas, one of them being the maquila industry companies in the border area”, he explained. He recalled that there are 2,160 active unions at the federal level, while there are around 28,000 organizations at the local level.