A Mexican arbitration board recently ruled Grupo Mexico can shut its largest mine and fire its striking workers due to damaged equipment, but a health and safety organization made up of experts from the United States and Mexico sees things differently.
The Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network released a report showing that the mine was in a terrible state of disrepair even before the Mining and Metalworkers Union of Mexico (Los Mineros) members struck in July 2007. This resulted in an extremely unsafe working environment, one of the reasons Los Mineros called the strike in the first place. Click here to read a press statement by the Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network.
Los Mineros plans to appeal the board’s decision and has vowed it will resist any attempt by federal police to remove the strikers from the mine. A blockade by some 1,000 workers in support of the Cananea workers shuttered a major Mexican port in recent days, holding up hundreds of containers of imports and exports. Over a dozen USW representatives are joining the demonstration at the port in support of Los Mineros members striking Grupo Mexico.
Earlier this month, we reported that Grupo Mexico announced it was closing its major Cananea copper mine in northern Mexico where workers have been on strike since 2007. Read the Reuter's report here.
The United Steelworkers has a long history of solidarity with Mexican miners, including adopting 3,000 striking miners' families and providing safe haven in Canada for Napoleon Gomez, the leader of the union to which the Cananea workers belong, the Mining and Metalworkers Union of Mexico (Los Mineros). The government of Mexico improperly removed Mr. Gomez from his position as Los Mineros general secretary on charges that have proven, again and again, in Mexican courts to have been trumped up.
The USW and Los Mineros formed a strategic alliance after Los Mineros provided crucial support in 2005 to USW members striking Asarco, a company owned by Grupo Mexico.