August 2, 2007
In Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico, leaders of a grassroots movement to win representation by an independent union have been fired and supporters are being harassed and pressured to “voluntarily” resign. Some workers have refused to give in to management intimidation and are continuing to press for legal recognition of an independent union. Workers are being dismissed daily under the pretext that there is a shortage of work.
Vaqueros Navarra is owned by Grupo Navarra, one of the largest and most powerful garment consortiums in the state of Puebla.
On July 10, the September 19 Union filed a petition with the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board (JLCA) for title to the collective agreement. Affiliated with the Authentic Labour Front (FAT), the September 19 Union was supported by the majority of the workers at a worker assembly. An “official union” affiliated with the FROC-CROC that was imposed on the workers without their consent currently holds title to the collective agreement.
The workers desperately need your support to pressure the local authorities to ensure that:
Since the PRI controls the Government of Puebla, the local conciliation and arbitration boards and is affiliated to the FROC-CROC, considerable pressure will be needed to convince local authorities to meet these demands.
In Mexico – particularly states governed by the PRI – bureaucratic delays are commonly used to defeat workers’ attempts to form independent unions, and union representation votes are usually held in the workplace where workers are required to voice their vote in front of representatives of management and the official union. Workers who vote the wrong way are usually fired shortly after the vote.
Please join MSN in calling on the Puebla state labour authorities to order the immediate reinstatement of workers fired for organizing an independent union and to hold a free, fair and transparent union representation vote by secret ballot at the earliest opportunity.
Fax or email a letter today to the Governor of the State of Puebla, with copies to the President of the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board, and the Minister of Labour of the State of Puebla. Copy and paste the message below, or download the text of the letter as a Microsoft Word file.
If possible, please send letters as attachments on your organizational letterhead. Also cc MSN so that we can pass on copies of all letters to groups in Puebla.
Mario Marín Torres
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Puebla
Casa Aguayo, 14 Ote. #1204, Barrio El Alto
Puebla, Pue. C. P. 72000 – Mexico
E: mail: email@example.com
Dear Governor Marín:
On behalf of the…., I am writing to urge your government to take immediate steps to ensure that the workers at the Vaqueros Navarra factory in Tehuacan, Puebla have the right to be represented by the union of their choice without employer interference.
We have received disturbing reports that management at Vaqueros Navarra has fired at least 30 workers for the crime of exercising their fundamental human right to organize for the purposes of bargaining collectively with their employer.
We would therefore strongly urge you to act without further delay to ensure that the workers who have filed a petition concerning their unjust and illegal firing be immediately reinstated with full back pay.
We would also urge you to respond in a timely manner to the workers’ petition to be represented by the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Costura, Confección, Similares y Conexos Diecinueve de Septiembre by holding a free and fair recuento by secret ballot and in the facilities of the Junta Local de Conciliación y Arbitraje de Tehuacan.
Our organization and others around the world will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that the recuento is held at the earliest opportunity and in a free and fair and transparent manner in which the internationally recognized right of workers to be represented by the union of their free choice without employer or government interference is fully respected.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter. We look forward to receiving information on the actions the Puebla labour authorities are taking to ensure that these workers’ associational rights are respected.
José Antonio López Malo Capellini
Secretario del Trabajo y Competitividad del Estado de Puebla
Jorge Ramos Lobato
Presidente de la Junta Local de Conciliación y Arbitraje del Estado de Puebla