19 July, 2012The protracted battle of Mexican metalworkers at DMI to organize into STIMAHCS finally ended in victory on 6 July, after a patient and determined fight that illustrates the barriers to trade union freedoms in Mexico.
The IndustriALL-affiliated STIMAHCS metalworkers union is a member of the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) which works in an alliance with the UE of USA, another IndustriALL affiliate. In this effort to organize at Dimensional Metals Inc. (DMI), STIMAHCS needed to win two elections, and numerous court cases, under threat of physical violence and dirty tactics of a corrupt company union, as well as dismissal of known trade unionists.
The first workplace election took two years to achieve but finally was conducted and won on 8 October 2010. That democratic election was voided by appeals petitioned by a yellow union. On 4 July 2012 the Federal Arbitration and Conciliation Board ordered an election to take place on 6 July at the plant. The choice of that day gave hope to the company union as it coincided with a family celebration day in Mexico when a number of workers would not take part in the vote.
For the day of the election a group of thugs were deployed by the yellow union at the gates to the plant to intimidate workers and at times attempt to block their entry. With almost 100% of the workers planning to vote for the STIMAHCS, the yellow union’s only possibility was to postpone the election by sparking a conflict. This was avoided by a concerted STIMAHCS effort.
A decisive election victory was achieved, with only four votes going to the yellow union. The new labour relations at the plant will be of benefit to both management and the workers, and the new union’s leaders immediately praised the company for allowing a neutral election to take place, a rare action by an employer in Mexico.