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GM workers in Mexico elect independent union, pushing for higher


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the main entrance of the General Motors’ pickup truck plant as workers vote to elect a new union under a labor reform that underpins a new trade deal with Canada and the United States, in Silao, Mexico February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Sergi

By Daina Beth Solomon

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -An independent labor union supported by international activists has won a sweeping victory to represent workers at a General Motors (NYSE:)’ pickup-truck plant in the central Mexican city of Silao, Mexican officials said on Thursday.

The union, SINTTIA, beat three rivals by a wide margin, including Mexico’s biggest labor organization that had held the contract for 25 years, and is poised to bring about a bump in wages in a country where salaries have stagnated for years.

The vote by several thousand workers https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/union-battle-unfolds-gm-mexico-ahead-workers-vote-2022-01-31 was required under a Mexican labor reform that underpins a trade agreement with the United States and Canada, and was closely watched by the U.S. government.

The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor organization, celebrated the vote as a win for workers across the auto sector.

“Workers will advocate for higher wages and improved health and safety standards … helping to set new standards in the automobile industry,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.

“This vote represents a rejection of the past and a new era for Mexican workers’ right to associate freely.”

General Motors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexico’s federal labor center said SINTTIA won with 4,192 votes out of 5,389 valid ballots, in an election with almost 90% turnout.

Many workers hoped to push out the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) after voting last year to dissolve their contract https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/gm-workers-mexico-vote-scrap-union-contract-labor-ministry-2021-08-19 with the group in a vote monitored by U.S. officials https://www.reuters.com/business/us-trade-office-says-gm-mexico-labor-case-concluded-tariff-threat-lifted-2021-09-22 under the USMCA trade deal.

CTM had held the Silao contract since the plant opened in 1995 and is aligned with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that ruled Mexico for decades.

It won 247 votes in the this week’s union election.

A separate group that critics say has ties to CTM, known as La Coalicion, or The Coalition, took second place with 932 votes.

SINTTIA, an upstart union supported by U.S. and Canadian labor groups, campaigned for months to rally supporters at the plant of 6,300 employees.

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