(en) Tijuana: more Hyundai unionists fired

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 19:05:26 -0700


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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Mon, 15 Sep 1997 18:12:56 -0700 (PDT) To: Campaign for Labor Rights e-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Tijuana: more Hyundai unionists fired

Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 clr@igc.apc.org (541) 344-5410 http://www.compugraph.com/clr

[The following is based on an alert written by the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, in San Diego: (619) 542-0826.]

EMERGENCY ALERT!!! FAXES URGENTLY NEEDED!!!

4 MORE UNIONISTS FIRED AT HYUNDAI (TIJUANA) Mexican labor board drags its feet

A struggle taking place at the Han Young maquiladora in Tijuana could prepare the way for workers throughout the Mexican maquiladora industry to organize democratic unions of their own choosing -- or (if the Han Young workers lose) it could send a signal that repression and corruption continue to rule in Mexico.

Background:

More than 80% of the 110 workers that produce chassis for Hyundai's tractor trailers at Han Young are unified in their stand. These welders demand an independent union rather than the company-paid, government-controlled "union" that has never held a meeting. They also demand safe and healthy working conditions and a living wage. Many suffer vision loss, burns and broken bones.

After a work stoppage June 2 and 3 -- with international support from unionists and human rights activists -- the company made commitments to address all 10 points of the workers' demands. However, in July, Han Young hired a union-busting consultant, who fired three leading union members, offered bribes to workers to quit the union, used lies to try to divide the workers and discredit union leaders and offered a $15,000 bribe to a member of the law firm representing the workers to drop the workers' case.

In August, demonstrations in San Diego outside Hyundai's administrative facilities seemed to make the company reconsider the massive firings it had been threatening.

Update:

On September 1, Han Young management began threatening to shut the plant if an independent union wins the election.

The Mexican Board of Conciliation and Arbitration (the labor board) was to have held a hearing on September 3 to set a date for a union election. However, the hearing was declared invalid because the board had typed the wrong docket number for the case in the hearing notice. The postponement gives the company more time to continue its campaign of harrassment and intimidation. Although the hearing date was reset for September 25, further excuses for delays could follow.

On September 3, a state government representative ordered all TV stations in Tijuana to omit coverage of the Han Young situation. One channel had planned a story on the situation but then canceled its coverage.

ON SEPTEMBER 9, HAN YOUNG FIRED FOUR MORE LEADERS OF THE UNIONIZATION EFFORT. The company owes one of those fired workers three weeks of pay. Two of the other fired workers were not paid their last week's pay. The workers are filing actions against the illegal moves of the company.

Requested action:

Please fax a letter (English is fine) to Antonio Ortiz, President of the labor board. Ask that he: * Ensure that a free and fair union election takes place wtihout further delays, intimidation or repression. * Ensure that the 7 illegally fired workers are reinstated and paid the wages owed to them under Mexican law. * Ensure that the plant not be authorized to shut down as a means to avoid bargaining with an independent union.

Send letters to: President Antonio Ortiz, Conciliation and Arbitration Board, Tijuana, Baja California, fax: 011-526-686-3300. Send copies to Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, fax: (619) 295-5879 and I.C. Song, Hyundai Precision America, (619) 209-5696.

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