Unionism without credibility

The once omnipotent CTM has lost its power, and now, there are voices who are looking to become new options to represent the workers

Unionism without credibility
Miners march in memory of those who died during an accident in the Pasta de Conchos mine in 2006 - Photo: Yadin Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL
English 12/02/2019 09:28 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:39

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During the 80s, Mexico started to slowly open politically, economically, as well as in regards to democracy and freedom of expression but there was a sector that didn't join this shift: trade unions.

These organizations were reluctant to change internally, while on the outside, they acted in a compromising way, in line with those in power. This was an old tradition.

During the last century, the strength of the PRI governments was based on the support they received from important sectors: farmers, popular, and workers. In regards to labor, the clearest example was the Mexican Workers Confederation, which monopolized labor representation and became an intermediary between the trade unions and political power.

But now, during the 21st century, the once omnipotent CTM has lost its power, and now, before a government that originated from the left and that hopes to erase the vices from the past, there are voices who are looking to become new options for worker representation.

In a recent interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Napoléon Gómez Urrutia, the leader of the miners union, said that he would promote the creation of the International Democratic Union Confederation, in the face of the “void in the Mexican unionism and help in Mexico's transformation towards democracy, freedom, and the defense of the workers' rights.”

Union leaders rejected the proposal as they consider it looks to create unionism in sync with the government, led by Morena, and that it would also weaken, divide, and diminish the credibility of Mexican unionism.

In fact, unions have been divided for years. As a result of the iron grip of the leaders, the lack of transparency and the negligence in the defense of the workers' rights, opposition groups were created, who promised to end these practices; in the end, those groups ended up engaging in the same acts they criticized.

Everything is the same in almost every guild: leaders who have stayed in the position for eternity, lavish lifestyles, no accountability, and submissiveness towards those in power. That is the prospect that needs to be changed.

As dissenting voices have proposed before, it's time to make changes. There are no reasons to be optimistic. Unionism should rebuild its credibility.

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