Workers at an auto parts plant in panasonic 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 Independent National Union of Industry and Service Workers (SNITIS)which arose from workers’ dissatisfaction with traditional union organizations in Tamaulipas, which borders the United States, won 75% of the polls in a two-day election in which 2,150 people were eligible to vote, the federal labor center said. late Friday.
The competing organization, the Autonomous Industrial Union of General Maquiladora Operators of the Mexican Republic (SIAMARM), which is part of the Confederation of Workers of Mexicoo (CTM), 86, won 25% in the factory that makes car audio and display systems, primarily for the US and Canadian markets.
Workers also recently voted against the CTM in General Motorsin the central state of Guanajuato, and at the Tridonex auto parts plant in Tamaulipas, both sites that faced scrutiny from the United States for possible abuses of workers’ rights under a new trade agreement with the United States and Canada (T-MEC).
The SNITIS won the elections of Tridonex 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 voting.
The CMT and panasonic They did not immediately respond to requests for comment and SIAMARM could not be reached immediately.
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 urged the United States government last week 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 T-MEC to improve working conditions in Mexico. .
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.