La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Guau. An FSTSE about face

Just as I finished calling Ayala a political lapdog for his position on the ISSSTE reform, among other things, he stands up and barks. [I'm still picturing something more like a chihuahua than a mastiff....] His bark isn't that fierce, so his bite would be even weaker.

Essentially, Ayala has unilaterally announced that the ISSSTE reform will remain 'frozen' until after the upcoming presidential and congressional elections because this is too important an electoral cycle to disrupt with reform. He also implies that the additional time will give leaders more time to bring more unions on board. Hmm.... what does he have in mind? Fox has been trying to get more unions to agree to the pension privatization since at least 2001. And what does Ayala have to offer the other unions anyway?

My only guess would be that Ayala and others in the PRI or PAN are hoping to use the negotiations over proportional representation lists in order to bargain for more labor support for the reform plan. If I were in the PRI or PAN, I'd be wary of such a bargain because there is no way to enforce it. Once the union reps are on the list and in office, they can defect and oppose the reform. Not to mention that it would be just another instance of the parties negotiating with the leadership without the leadership consulting the base. The SNTSS labor contract negotiations in 2003 should have taught someone somewhere a lesson: Co-opting the leader doesn't give you control over the rank and file, and if the rank and file mobilizes sufficiently, they can block the efforts of the union leader to approve reforms (at least for a while). I think the sun-national union leaders (of the delegations and locals) are learning more about their bargaining power and are using it to negotiate their own party alliances with the PRD. But that's a paper I hope to write soon with a colleague from Redlands.

The article also mentions a meeting between the leaders of the SNTSS and the Telefonistas (of the UNT) and the chair of the Social Security commission (Alonso Raya, a PRDista and member of the teacher's union and strong opponent of the IMSS reform in 2004). Alonso Raya apparently urged the UNT leaders to oppose the ISSSTE privatization. He made three claims: 1) it is as bad for workers as the 1995 IMSS reform, 2) it is essentially a proposal from the Finance Ministry without significant concessions, and 3) the World Bank told the Fox administration to enact the reform. I'm not going to comment on those three claims; you'll have to wait for my book.

In the meantime, it looks like my prediction that ISSSTE privatization before the july elections would be extremely difficult (I had originally said impossible) may come true. [Version espanol.]

posted by Michelle @ 10:08 AM,


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