Independent Victory at Tridonex Could Open Door to Other Unions
Tridonex auto parts plant workers in the US-Mexico border city of Matamoros followed the example of General Motors’ successful vote and shifted to a new independent union to replace their employer-friendly union affiliated with the Mexican Workers Confederation (CTM), signaling what could be a larger trend for the auto industry.
Tridonex, a subsidiary of the US Cardone Industries, fixes second-hand auto parts for distribution in North America. Its workers were affiliated with a CTM union, which allegedly prohibited workers from joining independent unions and locked in low wages. “We want a new change, someone who truly represents us… we are fed up with the fact that the CTM always does what it wants with us only seeks its own benefit and that of the company,” said a Tridonex plant worker with more than five years of experience who spoke anonymously with Labor Notes out of fear of facing retaliation for speaking out.
The 1,632 workers had two options: the currently in place Industrial Union of Workers in Maquiladora and Assembly Plants (SITPME) and the National Independent Union of Industry and Service Workers, 20/32 Movement (SNITIS). Voters had to deal with a quick turn-around as the election was announced on Feb. 16. Incumbent SITPME was also accused of bribing workers MX$500 (US$23.86), according to federal deputy Susana Prieto, while workers who convinced 10 co-workers to vote for SITPME would receive three times that payment.
The voting process held last Tuesday was called “fair and safe” by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. Labor enforcement mechanisms were one of the first sources of disagreement under USMCA, as the US filed a complaint regarding Mexico’s conditions and has subsequently monitored processes such as Tridonex’s union vote.
“Workplace democracy is a cornerstone of the USMCA’s labor provisions. People on both sides of the border win when workers can choose their union representation in a free and fair manner - and without delay,” Trade Representative Tai said.
The vote resulted in an overwhelming win for SNITIS, as previously reported by MBN, as it defeated the incumbent SITPME with almost 87 percent of the vote. Another CTM affiliated union recently lost the labor union vote of Silao’s General Motors plant after a prolonged voting process.
These defeats could be the beginning of a wave of automotive plants in Matamoros and the region electing new union representation, following a USMCA reform seeking to provide workers with a stronger voice. SNITIS will also participate in incoming union election at AFX Industries, OHD Operators de Mexico, Panasonic, Parker Brownsville Servicios and Tricon y Componentes, María del Rosario Moreno, General Secretary, SNITIS, told El Economista.