The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has issued a statement on the upcoming union vote at the GM Silao Assembly plant in Mexico, calling on GM and Mexican labor authorities to ensure the vote goes ahead in a fair and democratic fashion.
Employees at the GM Silao plant voted to implement a new contract with the Miguel Trujillo Lopez union last April, but authorities later discovered serious irregularities in the voting process, including discarded ballots. The United States then lodged an official complaint via a mechanism included in the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, allowing it to step in and oversee a future vote alongside Mexican labor officials. That second vote ended with the trade union being ousted, paving the way for employees to vote in a new organization to represent them.
Now, with this new election looming, the UAW is keeping a close eye on its 7,000+ union colleagues at the Silao plant. In a press release issued Monday, UAW president Ray Curry encouraged Mexico, the U.S. and GM to “work together to ensure workers are allowed to exercise their right to vote freely without fear of reprisal in the upcoming election.”
“The UAW has a long history standing in solidarity with workers seeking independent union representation in the United States and around the world,” Curry said in the statement. “This solidarity extends to our brothers and sisters in Mexico and the workers of General Motors Silao in their struggle to have a democratic and transparent union election.”
“The right to join a union and collectively bargain is a fundamental human right and a founding principle of the UAW,” he added.
The UAW also outlined ways labor officials and GM can ensure the upcoming union vote at Silao is fair and transparent. This includes:
- Providing all petitioning unions a reliable voter list
- Sending labor inspectors to the GM Silao facility to conduct investigations and random interviews with workers, verifying the work environment is free from coercion and intimidation, and that the vote will be free, secret, and personal
- Allowing for the presence of international and domestic observers to ensure no threats or intimidation occurs
- Taking all necessary steps to ensure that violence inside the plant, and in the surrounding communities, does not influence the outcome of the vote
Two other labor organizations, the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and Unifor, also sounded the alarm bells over the upcoming Silao plant vote earlier this month. The AFL-CIO and Unifor expressed concern the vote would not be fair, saying they were “concerned by the lack of protection for worker’s rights inside the GM plant.”
The union representation vote at the GM Silao plant is scheduled to take place between February 1st and 2nd.