(en) Details on Han Young victory

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 23:39:14 -0700

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 22:24:36 -0800 (PST) To: clr@igc.org From: Campaign for Labor Rights <clr@igc.apc.org> Subject: Details on Han Young victory

Labor Alerts: a service of Campaign for Labor Rights To receive our email labor alerts, send a message to CLR@igc.apc.org Phone: (541) 344-5410 Web site: http://www.compugraph.com/clr Membership/newsletter. Send $35.00 to Campaign for Labor Rights, 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003. Sample newsletter available on request.

********************************* See ACTION REQUEST at end of alert *********************************


[Information provided by staff of the Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, who ask that local activists seeking updates contact Campaign for Labor Rights: (541) 344-5410, <CLR@igc.apc.org>]

Those who have been following the Han Young/Hyundai situation know from our previous alert that the workers won official recognition of an independent union yesterday. This alert gives some details on that development. This is a complex situation. We apologize if what follows is confusing.

This victory was not due to concessions on the part of the Mexican federal government, the state government of Baja nor the management of Han Young. Instead, all of these players conspired to lure the workers into a trap. For two days leading up to the election, management had been offering 1,000-peso bribes to any worker who would vote for what management was claiming was a different "independent union," going by the name "Revindication for the Working Class." However, the director of this supposed independent union is known as an operative for the CTM, the government-affiliated labor federation.

During intense negotiations on December 16, the government and Han Young management insisted on a new union certification election, even though the workers already had indicated their preference in an earlier election on October 6, when they voted overwhelmingly to be represented by a union not aligned with the government. The new election would not just include the CROC, the government-affiliated union which previously had a contract with the company, but also the CTM union that was posing as an independent union, even though it apparently did not file appropriate papers or have standing to be in the election.

Knowing that they were taking a huge risk - given the recent bribe offers and attempts by management to sow confusion and given how long the struggle already had dragged on - the workers agreed to a new election, but only on condition that the government commit in writing before the election to certify an independent union (a state industrial union not affiliated with any federation) whether STIMAHCS (part of the independent FAT union federation) won or not. The government agreed, believing there was no chance that STIMAHCS would win the election. Apparently the government figured that the workers would lose face when STIMAHCS was defeated during the second election and, with the workers in this weakened position, the company and the government could withdraw their recognition of the unaffiliated independent union.

And so, STIMAHCS, a member of the Frente Autentico de Trabajo (FAT), has been certified as the legal representative of the workers to negotiate a contract. In addition to that, the workers have a signed agreement that they can also register a state industrial (unaffiliated) union if they choose.

International solidarity played a crucial role in this struggle. Although the government and Han Young management did not intend to have justice served by the second union election, that does not mean that our pressure was ineffective. Quite the contrary: The usual response of these forces would have been outright repression. However, they felt constrained to negotiate precisely because of intense international scrutiny. They schemed. Their scheme failed. In spite of every effort on the part of the wealthy and the powerful, justice prevailed for these workers.

The hunger strike was called off and the workers are gradually preparing to return to solid food under doctors' supervision.

In addition to the above, which mostly resulted from negotiations between the workers and the government, workers also reached an accord with Han Young management, the terms of which are close to those of the agreement struck on Friday but not ratified on Saturday: * Reinstatement of fired workers with back pay. * Pay raises - not the 30 percent across-the-board raises agreed to on Friday, but raises based on job category - essentially, the equivalent of the earlier raise. * Establishment of a health and safety commission.

These commitments do not constitute a collective bargaining agreement. Negotiations for the latter are to begin when workers return from their Christmas break.

We should expect the power structure to try to derail this process. There may be attempts to crush the union. Han Young may renege on its promises to bargain a contract in good faith. The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers will continue to monitor the situation closely. Campaign for Labor Rights will continue to notify international solidarity activists of unfolding events.

Given the behavior of both the government and Han Young management during the negotiations on Monday, we have to be prepared that these parties still have something up their sleeves. Until a collective bargaining agreement is signed, we need to keep up the pressure: THE BOYCOTT OF HYUNDAI MOTORS IS STILL ON! ["Boycott Hyundai" bumper stickers are still available. Contact Labor/Community Alliance: (209) 226-0477 or <CLR2@igc.apc.org>.]

****************** ACTION REQUEST ******************

1) The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers is asking people to publicize the victory and the reasons for it, including the role of international solidarity. It would be helpful to get stories about the victory into union newsletters and progressive community newspapers. If local activists were involved, give credit for their part and get the word out to local mainstream media. This kind of follow-up is helpful for building the basis for further support from your community when it is needed in the future.

2) Please send a letter to Hyundai Precision America. Sample:

Ted Chung, President Hyundai Precision America 8880 Rio San Diego Drive San Diego, CA 92108 Telephone: (619) 574-1500

Dear Mr. Chung:

I have been following the situation at Han Young. While I am pleased that the workers were able to win official certification for an independent union, I am also aware that collective bargaining for a contract is still to come. I urge you: Bring to bear on Han Young management all of the considerable pressure at your disposal so that Han Young:

* Engages in good faith bargaining with the union immediately after the Christmas holidays. * Abides by the agreements it signed with the workers on December 16. * Undertakes no illegal actions against the union.

The Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers advises me that the boycott of Hyundai Motors is still in effect until a collective bargaining agreement is signed between Han Young management and the union truly representing the workers. I will continue to support that boycott until I hear that your contractor, Han Young, has fully complied with its obligations to the workers.


CC: Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers, 3909 Centre Street, #210, San Diego, CA 92103

__________________________ Radio4All: http://www.radio4all.org/ The A-Infos Radio Project: http://radio4all.web.net/

****** A-Infos News Service ***** News about and of interest to anarchists

Subscribe -> email MAJORDOMO@TAO.CA with the message SUBSCRIBE A-INFOS Info -> http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ Reproduce -> please include this section