Friday, March 11, 2005
More drama in the Mexican labor movement
I can't recall if I've written about this before. Over the last year and a half, a significant number of the unions associated with the FSTSE (the official federation of unions of government employees) have left the FSTSE. They applied for formal recognition as a new Federation of unions of government workers, and were approved recently by the Secretary of Labor, who registers unions. That confused me, because according to the 1938 law that regulates government employees, all government employee unions had to belong to one federation. This was a tool of control. Well, that confusion was cleared up last week sometime, when I read that the case had been decided by the Mexican Supreme Court. The SC decided that the portion of the law that limited government employees to only one national Federation was an unconstitutional restriction on the right to organize. So the FEDESSP is now legal, and claims to represent 8 out of 10 government employees. That's a mass exodus from the FSTSE.
Of course, the political backstory behind the creation of the FEDESSP is more complicated. Officially, they organized to be the 'democratic' labor movement of government employees and to protest the way the FSTSE has not been militant enough in favor of workers' interests. (This last part is pretty true, considering the complacency of all 'official', i.e., affiliated with the PRI, labor unions). The backstory takes one of two forms. That the leader of one of the teachers unions Gordillo started the FEDESSP because of her personal differences with the leader of the FSTSE, Joel Ayala (who incidently, looking at my research notes from 3 years ago, has a not-so-nice staff and is difficult to get an interview with). The other version claims that Gordillo created the FEDESSP as a personal political vehicle. She is the PRI's Secretary General, and will become the President of the party when the current President (Madrazo) steps down to run for President of the country. (See a related article calling for him to step down.) It could be that both versions are true.
In any event, the article that prompted this post claims that the FEDESSP is now going to sue the FSTSE in court to take control of the FSTSE infrastructure (buildings, land, equipment, etc.). Since the FEDESSP is now claiming to represent 8 of 10 workers, they want the union facilities that correspond to those unions contributions. The article says that unions have already begun holding back their dues from the FSTSE.
posted by Michelle @ 1:03 PM,