AFL-CIO and Mexico's National Workers Unions Stand Against Bill that Will Hurt All Working People

The Mexican government has filed legislation that would substantially weaken rights for working people. In response, the AFL-CIO filed a complaint alleging that Mexico is violating the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the NAFTA labor side deal.

Mexico’s bill would lock in low wages and poor working conditions. It also would frustrate legitimate unions' efforts to negotiate together on behalf of Mexican workers, who work the longest hours for the lowest pay among all countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Specifically, the bill would:

  • Eliminate the independence of newly created entities under the Mexican constitution responsible for registering unions and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Give control to employers and employer-dominated unions to continue to keep independent unions out of the workplace.
  • Eliminate transparency requirements for fair union elections, including basic worker access to collective bargaining agreements and contract language.
  • Introduce additional obstacles that make it even harder for independent unions to replace employer-dominated unions.
  • Promote greater subcontracting by eliminating safeguards to prevent abuse—including for anti-union motives.
  • Lower the compensation owed to working people who are victims of workplace accidents and injuries.

In sum, the bill is a gift to employers and employer-dominated unions—in violation of international law, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the intent of Mexico's constitutional reforms. It certainly will make it more difficult for Mexican workers to come together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work.

Since NAFTA's inception, Mexican wages, working conditions and the ability of Mexican workers to exercise their labor rights have not improved; indeed, they have, in many cases, worsened. The current legislation is a disgraceful attempt to further entrench the corporate power and corrupt practices of employer-favored unions. The bill must be withdrawn.

As negotiations commence, the United States must insist that Mexico withdraw this legislation and put in place laws to implement last year’s constitutional reforms—not undermine them. Independent unions must have a seat at the table. This legislation, and the broad violation of workers’ rights in Mexico, is also evidence that the NAFTA labor side agreement has been woefully ineffective at improving labor standards in North America. Any new agreement must include a vastly improved approach to labor rights and standards and enforcement, and it must require measurable changes in practice in Mexico before any new trading privileges are granted.

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Reposted from the AFL-CIO

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work