‘Fed up’ GM employees in Mexico choose new union in historic vote By Reuters

Date:


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the principle entrance of the Normal Motors’ pickup truck plant as employees vote to elect a brand new union beneath a labor reform that underpins a brand new commerce cope with Canada and the US, in Silao, Mexico February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Sergi

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By Daina Beth Solomon

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – An upstart union supported by worldwide activists on Thursday gained an election to signify Normal Motors (NYSE:) employees in central Mexico, opening the door to the prospect of larger pay rises, impressed by U.S.-backed labor reform.

The election was one of many first beneath the brand new Mexican legislation, which underpins a commerce cope with the US and Canada, and goals to assist enhance pay by breaking the grip of unions that critics say signed offers with corporations behind employees’ backs.

The union often known as SINTTIA gained 78% of the votes solid by a number of thousand employees at GM’s plant within the metropolis of Silao, beating three rivals together with Mexico’s largest labor group that had held the plant contract for 25 years.

Employee Jesus Barroso mentioned he selected SINTTIA to push out the previous union, which he mentioned did little to assist its members, a frequent cost by employees and activists about so-called “safety” unions that they are saying prioritize enterprise pursuits.

“We’re fed up. Being fed up is what’s making us take this determination,” mentioned Barroso, noting he takes house 480 pesos ($23.27) in his each day 12-hour shift after greater than a decade at GM.

“I believe we have now the precise to offer our households, our youngsters, a greater high quality of life.”

U.S. lawmakers hailed the vote as a win for Mexican and U.S. employees beneath the United States-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA) commerce deal, with representatives Invoice Pascrell, Earl Blumenauer and Dan Kildee calling it a “boon to American employees who’ve suffered from multinational companies transferring jobs offshore.”

“Firms in Mexico, together with Normal Motors, should acknowledge this transformation going down, respect new union illustration and negotiate new contracts in good religion,” the lawmakers mentioned in a joint assertion.

GM, which employs 6,300 folks in Silao, mentioned it will work with SINTTIA to start a contract negotiation and thanked workers for voting.

‘BIT BY BIT’

SINTTIA mentioned it was nonetheless getting ready a pitch however wish to see raises above inflation, which ended 2021 above 7%.

“For years, we misplaced a lot. Now we’ll must go little by little,” the group’s Secretary Normal Alejandra Morales advised a information convention.

SINTTIA is taking a look at a few of Mexico’s few unbiased auto unions as fashions to realize higher wages and dealing situations.

At Volkswagen (DE:)’s plant in Puebla state, the union has helped guarantee common pay of 600 pesos ($29.15) a day for an eight-hour shift.

The AFL-CIO, the most important U.S. labor group, mentioned the vote would assist set requirements throughout the auto sector.

“This vote represents a rejection of the previous,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler mentioned in a press release.

Nonetheless, different auto vegetation might not get the identical scrutiny from U.S. and Mexican officers that helped guarantee a good vote, mentioned Arnulfo Arteaga-Garcia, a professor at Mexico’s Metropolitan Autonomous College who was certainly one of 100 election observers.

“It could be a reference, however not robotically,” he mentioned. “We won’t ring the bells but.”

U.S. officers threatened to impose tariffs on GM exports final 12 months if the automaker didn’t defend employee rights after a contract ratification vote on the plant was marred by irregularities, together with destroyed ballots.

In August, GM’s Silao employees selected to finish their contract with the Confederation of Mexican Employees (CTM), which had held the contract because the plant opened in 1995 and is aligned with the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Get together (PRI).

Observers mentioned this week’s union vote went easily general, though SINTTIA’s chief Morales and one other feminine colleague mentioned they acquired private threats within the days earlier than the vote.

The CTM gained 5% of the vote, whereas a separate group that critics say has ties to CTM, often known as The Coalition, took 17%.

Cecilio, a employee who declined to offer his final identify, mentioned he voted for SINTTIA and was not stunned the group gained.

“For thus lengthy, us employees have been ready for an actual change,” he mentioned.

($1 = 20.5831 Mexican pesos)

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