May 27, 2021
TORONTO – Unifor National President Jerry Dias told a media conference in Mexico City today that immediate and strong action is needed to ensure free and transparent union votes for Mexican workers.
“Destroying ballots is denying them a voice. It’s stealing from them their dignity. It’s criminal. It’s the worst form of exploitation. And it must be punished,” Dias told the media conference by Zoom.
Unifor is urging the federal government to send Canadian observers to oversee a union vote at the General Motors plant in Silao, Mexico in June, after a previous contract legitimization vote was marred by corruption and alleged criminal interference by their current union.
Reports out of Mexico include allegations of illegal vote tampering, ballot destruction and worker intimidation by the CTM union, halting a long-awaited ratification vote for roughly 6,000 workers at GM’s truck plant in Central Mexico.
The plant makes truck models previously assembled in Oshawa by Unifor members until 2009. Dias said Unifor became involved with the renegotiation of NAFTA to address the issue of jobs moving to low-wage jurisdictions and unequal rights for workers.
“If Mexican workers are suffering. That means Canadian workers are suffering. That means all workers are suffering,” Dias said.
“When Mexican autoworkers are given artificially low wages – that puts pressure on Canadian autoworkers to accept low wages. It’s a vicious cycle and it has to stop.”
Also speaking at the media conference were representatives of Mexican and international labour organizations, including Jesús Abúndez Rodríguez of the Auto Federation (FESIIAAAN) and Georg Leutert from the IndustriALL Global Union.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
To arrange for interviews, in-person or via Skype or FaceTime, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Stuart Laidlaw at email@example.com or 647-385-4054 (cell).