Monday, January 31, 2011

Mexico treats unions like crap

So we should reward Mexico by opening the border to their trucks?

Here's the story:

Last week, a U.S. Steelworker representative was arrested by Mexican border officials. He was on his way to meet with attorneys for Los Mineros, the Mexican mineworkers’ union. The steelworkers have been supporting the mineworkers, who've been striking for nearly four years against Grupo Mexico at a copper mine in the northern state of Sonora. According to the USW:
Manny Armenta, a USW sub-district director in Albuquerque, NM, was arrested ....At about 2 p.m. (MST), a customs officer stopped Armenta’s car, which is leased by the union, accusing him of driving a stolen vehicle. Armenta presented documentation to no avail. After searching the vehicle with dogs, the officer attempted to extort a “fine” of 185,000 pesos (about $15,000). When Armenta refused to pay he was arrested, detained overnight, and released early Tuesday, Jan. 25 after posting a bond of 80,000 pesos (about $7,750).

Amenta’s car was impounded and it has not been returned. Armenta’s wallet was taken from him in the arrest, but later returned, minus $700 in cash.
The steelworkers' president, Leo Gerard, said the Mexican government arrested Armenta because he was trying to intimidate the USW copper miners from exercising their right to collective bargaining and showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Mexico.

The Mexican government, led by Felipe Calderon government, has a history of hostility toward working people. According to Labor Notes, the government in 2009 seized the
Central Light and Power Company of Mexico, which provides electricity to Mexico City and several states in central Mexico. The government of President Felipe Calderón announced that the company would be liquidated and all its approximately 45,000 workers fired, which would mean the destruction of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME). Another 20,000 retirees are also now severed from their former employer and their union. The government’s action directly affects at least 250,000 workers and their families in the Federal District and states neighboring the capital.

Labor Notes reported that the action was unsurprising, given Calderon's record toward unions.

Still another reason to close the border to dangerous Mexican trucks.