Mexican nationals working for Tridonex, a US operated manufacturing plant in the northern city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, abandoned the institutional legacy union Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) in favor of the Independent National Union of Industrial Workers Movement (SNITIS). This marks a second major victory of smaller unions over the old-guard unions, potentially setting an important precedent for labor unions across the region.
María del Rosario Moreno, General Secretary of SNITIS, hopes this will generate a domino effect throughout the region where CTM represents laborers at 70 other manufacturing plants. Meanwhile Susana Prieto, Lawyer, Federal Congresswoman and Union Founder, hopes this victory will mark “a new era in free democratic unions, in which they will [not] steal from you, they will [not] cheat you, where they are accountable for how they spend your union dues and decisions are made with openness."
After two years of campaigning, in a closely monitored election process by the US Labor Department, 1,126 employees voted in favor of the independent union SNITIS out of a total of 1,313 employees. The leader of the CTM union, Jesús Mendoza, claimed there were irregularities in the voting process and asserted that he would seek to appeal the vote. This blow comes on the heels of a similar defeat in the central city of Silao, Guanajuato, where CTM lost a 25-year hold on a General Motors factory to an emerging grass-roots union.
This subsequent win “sets a precedent for the entire north" of the country in terms of union freedom and democratization that could impact the 33 municipalities in which the union is located, "so that workers can finally have justice, better benefits and wages,” said Prieto Terrazas, Federal Deputy, Morena.
In the US, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Trade Representative Katherine Tai applauded the outcome of the SNITIS election, calling it the “cornerstone of the USMCA’s labor provisions” and a vital step to “breaking the backroom collusion embraced by corporations offshoring American jobs.” Furthermore, they pledged to continue “work[ing] diligently to advance labor rights as a core part of the Biden-Harris administration’s worker-centered trade policy,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.