April 14, 2011—After several years of struggle, the members of Section 308 of Mexico’s mineworkers’ union, Los Mineros, have a real voice in their workplace and an agreement that provides for a more stable working environment, greater respect of their rights, and protection by a true independent union.
||JCI workers rally in Puebla. Photo courtesy of CAT
Over the weekend of April 8, 2011, workers at the Johnson Controls Interiors (JCI) plant in Puebla, Mexico, successfully renegotiated a collective bargaining agreement with an overall wage increase of 7.5 percent and various allowances.
This is the first negotiation since Section 308, which represents 800 workers, was recognized last year as the workers’ chosen union. More than half the workers are women, many of them married with children.
This breakthrough agreement now grants stable employment and assures workers that they have a union that will defend its members, unlike the past company-controlled “protection” union, which did not represent the true interest of workers. Los Mineros and the company also agreed to maintain a healthy relationship of mutual respect and a good work environment to achieve common goals.
Negotiations were conducted by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, Los Mineros general secretary currently living in exile in Canada. Other results of the negotiations were:
- A 4.9 percent wage increase plus a 2.6 percent direct payment for each worker
- Additional school aid
- An added day of bereavement leave
- Increases in life insurance benefits for natural death and for death in an accident at work.
The workers’ struggle to organize an effective union took years. During that time they suffered physical attacks, harassment, and threats from the Puebla and federal labor authorities and groups of thugs. In the end, the workers found strong support from Los Mineros, the Workers’ Support Center (CAT) in Puebla, and international organizations of workers, such as the International Metalworkers’ Federation and the United Steelworkers (USW) in the United States and Canada.
Mexican Auto Parts Workers Win Union Recognition.
After a three-day work stoppage and a groundswell of international labor support, 480 workers at a Johnson Controls Interiors (JCI) auto parts plant in Puebla, Mexico, won recognition of their union, the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers (SNTMMSSRM—“Los Mineros”).
Mexico’s Mineros to Receive Meany-Kirkland Award
, James Parks, AFL-CIO Now
, April 18, 2011.