As President Obama meets today with Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is calling for improved rights for Mexico's working families. In recent months, Mexican workers have faced a series of challenges to their basic rights. Trumka said:
While the AFL-CIO shares these concerns, we would like to see the priorities of working people on both sides of the border better reflected in this discussion. In our view, the fundamental right of workers to democratically organize and bargain with their employers is central to achieving 'economic competitiveness.' The Mexican government’s continuing attacks on these rights greatly reduces protections for Mexico’s most vulnerable workers and is of grave concern.
The following concerns related to workers’ rights should be addressed at the upcoming meeting:
On Nov. 13, the Mexican Congress approved labor law reform legislation that actually reduces protections for Mexican workers. The law limits seniority, weakens remedies for unjust dismissal and promotes subcontracting, temporary contracts and payment by the hour. This legislation reflects an overly simplistic view of 'economic competitiveness' as simply the reduction of labor costs, without regard to social consequences or workforce development. An additional ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court greatly weakens the right to strike. These reforms are likely to increase poverty and marginalization and force more workers to emigrate and seek precarious work.