USW Opposes Proposed Weakening of Mexican Labor Laws

Pittsburgh–(ENEWSPF)–September 25, 2012.  United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard yesterday joined members of Congress, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other affiliates of the IndustriALL Global Union in condemning a proposed reform of Mexican labor law that would undermine Mexican labor unions and sharply curtail workers’ rights.

 “The proposed legislation is clearly undemocratic and presents a truly unfortunate image of Mexico,” Gerard wrote in a letter to the Parliamentary Coordinators of the Mexican Congress.  It shows “utter contempt for the views of legislators, workers and citizens and a clear disregard for international labor and human rights standards.”

The proposed changes to Mexican labor law would make it more difficult to strike, promote the use of subcontractors and violate the autonomy of Mexico’s labor unions.  It also would limit back pay in cases of illegal termination and eliminate seniority as a basis for promotion.

By weakening Mexico’s independent labor unions, the changes would also drag down Mexican wages, the USW contends.  This would be bad for Mexican workers and would also hurt workers in Canada and the U.S. by reducing exports to Mexico and providing an incentive for companies to relocate.

As one of the largest North American members of IndustriAll, a global alliance of labor unions, the USW is dedicated to working with its partners in challenging multinational corporations on an international level.

Speaking out against these changes in Mexican labor law is particularly important now as Mexico’s government seeks to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement that includes the U.S. and other countries across the Pacific region.  Trade with Mexico will be especially dangerous if Mexico’s already-weak labor protections are further undermined.

The Mexican Congress is scheduled to vote on labor law changes on Sept. 27.