Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Labor Dispute

The latest government-union conflict is between the electricians union and the Labor Secretary Javier Lozano. Union boss Martín Esparza had been reelected to his post, but Lozano is refusing to recognize the win because of irregularities in election. Union members are planning to march on Los Pinos as a result. El Universal weighed in with the following editorial:
"The winds of democracy have barely brushed against the world of labor," was the warning of the Mexican union scholar Graciela Bensunsán at the beginning of the decade. Today, the electricians union reminds us that nothing has changed since then, let's not even say in the last decade, but rather more than half a century.

Despite the changes in the presidency, the plurality in Congress, and the party diversity at every level of government, labor relations in Mexico continue being as vertical and authoritarian as they were 20, 40, or 60 years ago. Maybe even worse now because in the past the influence of those labor leaders ended where the president's began; in contrast, in recent days they have been the ones to impose their will.


The day that the Federal Labor Law is reformed will provide certainty to the relationship between workers and businesses. In that very instant the powerful union barons will turn into a shameful but surpassed part of our history.


David said...

Notice that the Luz y Fuerza union has few influential friends in Congress as it is still very much tied to López Obrador. Also notice that some unions that flirted with the PRD in 2006 - the CROC, the IMSS union, to name two - are now aligned with the PRI or PAN.

The equally problematic oil workers' union, meanwhile, has the PRI, and the SNTE teachers' union has been tight with the Calderón administration. (At least that's the case with SNTE boss Elba Esther Gordillo.)

Just a suspicion, but the Luz y Fuerza union was a more vulnerable target and is thus the first to be busted.

pc said...

Interesting points, I'd not heard any of that before. I wonder who's next up? I remember reading that Elba Esther is reading the tea leaves and is moving closer toward the PRI wing that is with Peña Nieto.