EconomyFinancialPanasonic workers in Mexico elect independent union

Panasonic workers in Mexico elect independent union

Workers at a Panasonic auto parts plant in northern Mexico elected an independent union this week, marking another defeat for one of the largest local organizations, as the country seeks to strengthen labor rights in line with a new trade agreement.

The SNITIS union, which arose from workers’ dissatisfaction with traditional union organizations in Tamaulipas, on the border with the United States, won 75% of the polls in a two-day election in which 2,150 people were eligible to vote, reported the federal labor center

The competing organization, SIAMARM, which is part of the 86-year-old Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), won 25% in the factory that makes car audio and display systems, mainly for the United States markets. and Canada.

Workers also recently voted against the CTM at General Motors, in Guanajuato, and at the Tridonex auto parts plant, in Tamaulipas, both sites that have faced US scrutiny for possible worker rights abuses under a new trade agreement with the United States. and Canada (TMEC).

SNITIS won the Tridonex elections in February with nearly 87% of the vote, in what union leaders hoped would cause a domino effect.

“That was something devastating, as was also the result of Tridonex, as we hope it will be the result of all the factories that continue to join this new era of independent unionism,” said the founder of SNITIS, Susana Prieto, in a video broadcast on social networks after the results of the Panasonic vote.

SIAMARM leader Alberto Lara said on social media before the vote that he would protect vulnerable workers and that his union would offer the best contract.

The SNITIS last week urged the United States government to investigate the Panasonic plant for alleged abuses of workers’ rights, the latest in a series of conflicts in which it seeks to take advantage of the TMEC to improve working conditions in Mexico. Read full story

This week’s union election at Panasonic follows on from a vote last year in which workers rejected their previous employment contract.

Such votes are required by a recent Mexican labor reform to end the previously widespread practice of unions and companies signing so-called “protection contracts” without workers’ knowledge.

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