USW Seeks Hearings after Mexican Police Attack Mine Workers

Steelworkers President Questions $1.4 Billion Security Funding Package

PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today called for congressional hearings on President George W. Bush’s proposed “Merida Initiative” to provide $1.4 billion to Mexican security forces after federal and state police attacked striking workers at Grupo Mexico’s Cananea copper mine in Sonora, where ten union members were injured. A thousand federal police are now occupying the mine and the surrounding area.

In a letter to Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, USW International President Leo W. Gerard urged both committees to convene hearings on labor rights violations in Mexico as part of their examination of the administration’s funding request; that they develop specific labor rights benchmarks that Mexico must meet in order to receive funding; and that the entire funding package be directed toward strengthening human rights and the rule of law.

“The attack on the Cananea miners is just the most recent in a series of repressive actions by the Mexican government,” Gerard wrote. “The Calderón administration’s flagrant violations of workers’ fundamental rights to organize and bargain and its continuing use of security forces to assault unarmed workers, raise serious questions about the desirability of providing Mexico with additional security funding.”

Gerard pointed out that the USW is second to none in defending our nation’s security, but added that our security is best preserved by defending human rights before lambasting the Mexican government for its unnecessary brutality in trying to repress the striking workers.

“Mexico cannot be allowed to violate workers’ human rights with impunity under the pretense of securing borders and combating narco-trafficking,” he said.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in the United States and Canada employed in the metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and other industries as well as the service and public sectors.

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United Steelworkers Union Press Release announcing their demands for hearings on Plan Mexico funding

Congress members Lowey, Engel, Lantos and Obey get letter from Steelworkers president raise serious questions about the desirability of providing Mexico with additional security funding. Demand hearings on Plan Mexico.

Leo Gerard, International President: “Mexico cannot be allowed to violate workers’ human rights with impunity under the pretense of securing borders and combating narco-trafficking.”

United Steelworkers letter to Congress

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