Letters supporting labor rights submitted to Mexican High Commissioner

On Wednesday, November 24, 2010, a press conference was organized in Mexico City to announce the submission of 51 letters from prominent labor and human rights organizations, law firms, law professors and judges, requesting intervention in order to ensure a meaningful harmonization of national legislation with the international commitments assumed by Mexico in the area of human labor rights, such that workers’ rights are fully implemented via a legal system that is effective, impartial and autonomous.

Speaking on behalf of the Mexican unions were Rafael Naranjo of the Telephone Workers on behalf of the National Union of Workers (UNT), MartĂ­n Esparza, General Secretary and Fernando Amezcua, international affairs secretary of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), Raul Olivera of the National Union of Technical and Professional Workers of Pemex (UNTyPP), and Granadas Chapa, a highly respected journalist who is viewed as having great moral authority in Mexico.

Joining them were Duncan Brown, International Affairs Director of the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP), Lawrence Johnson President of Local 9042 of the United Steelworkers (USW), and Lorraine Clewer, the new Director of the Mexico office of the AFL-CIO.

Approximately 15 representatives of the media attended, including Reforma and La Jornada. Questions pertained both to the letters that were filed and the recent ruling that an election would take place for leadership of SME, with retirees and those workers who had refused severance eligible to vote. It is anticipated that this will remove one of the major obstacles facing the union, paving the way for recognition of the current leadership.

This effort was initiated by the National Lawyers Guild and Canadian Association of Labor Lawyers at the request of the Authentic Labor Front (FAT). It was coordinated by Robin Alexander, Mark Brooks and Jeanne Mirer for the NLG with the assistance of Susan Philpott, Graham Williamson and Hugo Leal-Neri of CALL. The press conference was organized by the FAT and CILAS, as part of the work of the Tri-national Solidarity Alliance.

Martin Esparza, general secretary of SME, expressed his appreciation to the organizations and individuals supporting the initiative: “Many thanks for all of the support that you have been giving to all of the workers of Mexico, in response to this right-wing government that seeks to impose its law. The only thing it is accomplishing is to erode democracy in our country. International support is of great importance in making our people and the world aware of what is happening in Mexico. The unity of the working class of the world will triumph.”

Letters were submitted by the following organizations and individuals: Alliance of Guestworkers for Dignity, New Orleans, LA, U.S.
American Association of Jurists (AAJ)
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Washington, U.S..
Ansley, Fran (University of Tennessee), Knoxville, TN, U.S..
Brooks, Mark, Nashville, TN, U.S.
Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE), Local 378, Burnaby, BC, Canada
Carpenter & Mayfield, San Jose, CA, U.S.
Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), NY, NY, U.S.
Chivers Carpenter, Edmonton, AL, Canada
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP), Ottawa, ON, Canada
Cornell, Angela (Cornell University Law School, Labor Law Clinic), Ithaca, NY, U.S.
Conseil Central du Montreal Metropolitain (CSN), Montreal, QC, Canada
Dannin, Ellen (Dickinson School of Law), University Park, PA, U.S.
FIOM-CGIL, Rome, Italy
Freedman & Lorry, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.
Giuristi Democratici, Rome, Italy
Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP, NY, NY, U.S..
Global Workers Justice Alliance, NY, NY, U.S.
Grassroots Gobal Justice (GGJ), California y Miami, U.S..
International Association of Democratic Lawyers
International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers Unions (ICEM), Geneva, Switzerland
International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR), London, UK
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Washington, DC, U.S..
International Metalworkers Federation, Geneva, Switzerland
Jain, Vijender, (Former Chief Justice of High Court and Asia Pacific Jurist Association), Noida, India
Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA), Tokyo, Japan
Kestrel Workplace Legal Counsel, Vancouver, Canada
Koskie Minsky, Toronto, ON, Canada
Leonard Carder, Oakland, CA, U.S.
Prof. Lobel, Jules (University of Pittsburgh Law School), Pittsburgh, PA, U.S..
Maquila Solidarity Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
Murphy Anderson, Washington, DC, U.S..
National Lawyers Guild (NLG), NY, NY, U.S..
National Lawyers Guild, Portland Chapter, Portland, OR, U.S..
National Nurses United, Washington DC, U.S..
New Brunswick Nurses Union, Fredericton, NB, Canada
Ontario Nurses Association, Toronto, ON, Canada
Paoletti, Sarah (University of Pennsylvania Law School), Philadelphia, PA, U.S..
Refugio del Rio Grande, San Benito, TX, U.S..
Sabharwal, Y.K., Former Chief Justice of India, New Delhi, India
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Washington, DC, U.S..
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 205, Nashville, TN, U.S..
Sugar Law Center, Detroit, MI, U.S..
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), Pittsburgh, PA, U.S..
United Mineworkers of America (UMWA), Triangle, VA, U.S..
US Labor Education in the Americas Project (US LEAP), Chicago, IL, U.S.
United Steelworkers/Metallos (USW), Toronto, ON, Canada
United Steelworkers (USW), Pittsburgh, PA, U.S..
Utility Workers of America (UWUA), Washington, DC, U.S..
Watson Jacobs McCreary, London, ON, Canada
Woloshyn & Company, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

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