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Union Members Protest Outside Mexican Embassy to Support Greater Trade Union Rights

Union Members Protest Outside Mexican Embassy to Support Greater Trade Union Rights

As part of a six-day worldwide labor solidarity campaign, American union members protested outside the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., yesterday in support of greater trade union rights and protections in Mexico.

Dozens of activists—representing unions like the AFT, Communications Workers of America (CWA), UAW, Letter Carriers (NALC) and AFGE—picketed outside the embassy, demanding justice for the families of 65 mine workers killed in a 2006 mine explosion in northeastern Mexico, a rollback of regressive labor law changes approved late last year and an end to intimidation and violence against workers in various industries. The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) also joined the action.

“Whether here or Mexico, whether dealing with the Koch brothers or Carlos Slim, the struggle of working people is the same,” CWA President Larry Cohen told the union activists minutes before delivering a letter to embassy staff addressed to Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto, who assumed office in December. Cohen and a small delegation met with embassy officials to discuss concerns about workers' rights issues when they delivered the letter.  

The U.S. actions, several of which were organized by the AFL-CIO or its affiliate unions, were set to mark the seventh anniversary of the Feb. 19, 2006, Pasta de Conchos mine explosion in Mexico. The bodies of 63 of the 65 workers killed “have never been recovered,” their families have received “inadequate or no compensation” and those “responsible for the incident have never been investigated or charged” by Mexican authorities, according to a document issued by IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.

“On the occasion of your recent inauguration as president of Mexico,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka writes in his Feb. 19 letter addressed to Peña Nieto, “labor rights organizations from around the world have joined together to urge you to make every effort to resolve the systematic violations of workers’ rights across all industrial sectors and regions of Mexico.”

Part of a worldwide campaign called Mexico Days of Action, the D.C. action came on the heels of others across the nation and in countries like Canada, Brazil, Thailand and Mexico.

For more information on upcoming U.S. solidarity actions and how to get involved, please click here.

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