August 25, 2010
In response to a violent attack on August 16 by thugs from a protection union imposed on them by factory management, workers at the Johnson Controls Interiores plant in Puebla Mexico walked off the job and remained on strike for several days.
On August 19, the dispute was resolved when management signed an agreement recognizing the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers (SNTMMSSRM or Los Mineros) as the workers' union and severing its ties with the Confederación de Organizaciones Sindicales (COS), a company union that was ejected from the factory in May after a previous three-day strike.
The latest strike began when approximately 60 thugs apparently associated with the COS entered the Johnson Controls Interiores factory, assaulting workers with rocks, sticks and chains and leaving many injured. Two of the members of the Executive Committee of the new union recognized after the May strike, Cándido Barreucos and Vigilio Melendez, were beaten in a company office and forced to sign letters of resignation, reportedly at gunpoint.
Under the agreement that ended the strike, they have both since been offered reinstatement.
Quick action by workers and their supporters internationally has once again won workers the right to be represented by the union of their choice, in a country where employers often sign "protection contracts" with corrupt unions in order to prevent their workers from organizing or affiliating with a democratic union. MSN would like to thank all its supporters who signed letters of protest to the company and to the Mexican government.
MSN is working with the Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador (CAT) and other labour rights organizations in Mexico and internationally to pressure Johnson Controls to fully implement the new agreement and to respect the right of all its Mexican workers to be represented by a union of their free choice.