Tag Archives: Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union

“¡Si no hay solución, habrá revolución!”: Recent Developments in Mexico

Zapata 2010In recent weeks, the political crisis in Mexico has deepened in the wake of mounting attacks by the state against labor and progressive/left organizations. Such attacks have only added to expectations of a coming social explosion as the country prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution and the 200th anniversary of its War of Independence.

During the weekend of October 11th, the government of President Felipe Calderón staged a military/police takeover of Luz y Fuerza del Centro, the government-owned electric company that employs 43,000 workers represented by the Mexican Electrical Workers’ Union (SME). This was only the latest step in a decades-long offensive by the Mexican ruling class under both the National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to undermine the strength of that union and to privatize the energy industry. With the takeover, all 43,000 workers were immediately terminated. Only 10,000 are expected to be rehired after restructuring by the government, and the remainder are being enticed to take severance packages in an attempt to soften protest against the attack and to divide the workers.

Calderón is claiming this move was necessary because a corrupt union and selfish electrical workers with high wages were bleeding the profitability of the company. Sounding like the U.S. capitalists who pinned the failures of U.S. auto on autoworkers, Calderón lamented that, “Had I not taken this measure, we would have had to raise electric rates or constantly increase taxes.” Most sources point to a set of deeper issues at the root of this takeover.
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