According to Bloomberg, a group of employees at the Silao plant want to unseat the current union, which is part of a broader Mexican labor union called the Confederation of Mexican Workers, or CTM. The publication says it spoke to five employees regarding the matter, who expressed concern over a lack of COVID-19 safety protocols at the plant. One employee said workstations are not socially distanced, while another said a co-worker was ordered to return to work after contracting COVID-19 and was not re-tested for the contagious disease.
There are also safety concerns unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic. One GM Mexico employee told Bloomberg she was not provided with a fire retardant uniform when she joined the workforce there and has suffered burns on her legs as a result. She has also developed back problems as she was not provided with the right footwear, the employee said.
Wage-related complaints are exacerbating the situation, as well. A separate employee said employees at the Silao plant typically make less than $25 a day and that this wage is not enough to support her family. GM workers in the U.S. and Canada make anywhere from $18 to $32 per hour, depending on their seniority level.
The CTM union has sought to push through a contract and has told workers that GM will leave Mexico if workers do not validate the collective bargaining agreement. The union attempted to hold a vote over the contract in April, which was shut down by the Mexican Labor Ministry after it discovered unused ballots had been destroyed. The ministry then requested to see the ballots that had already been cast, but the union refused.
Bloomberg also spoke to an employee who said 19 of her colleagues were fired after they attempted to organize a new union in opposition to the CTM.
The CTM says it is now looking to hold another vote for a new agreement with GM and pledged to comply with local legal orders and remain transparent throughout the voting process.
In a statement sent to Bloomberg, GM said it “respects and supports the rights of our employees to make a personal, free, secret and direct response in regards to its union representation.”