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Settlement Reached at Johnson Controls Plant in Mexico
Following a national and international campaign to protest violence against members of an independent union at one of its plants in Puebla, Mexico, Johnson Controls signed an agreement on August 20, 2010 that offers reinstatement to two members of the executive committee who had been forced to resign, provides economic compensation to workers who had been beaten, and severs ties with the “yellow” union whose thugs local company officials reportedly allowed into the plant on August 16.
USLEAP joined with others in another round of a lengthening campaign in support of workers at Johnson Controls’ Interiors, also known as Resurrection, plant where a strike in May had led to an agreement to recognize a new union of workers, affiliated to the Mineworkers union in Mexico. A second campaign by workers for an independent union at a second Johnson Controls plant, FINSA, has also met strong resistance from the company.
After growing reports of the company’s failure to implement the Memorial Day weekend agreement, thugs were reportedly allowed into the factory on August 16. The thugs attacked workers of the independent union which sent some leaders to the hospital, including two members of the Executive Committee, Cándido Barreucos and Vigilio Melendez, who were also threatened into resigning. In the new agreement signed August 20, the company agreed to offer reinstatement to both leaders. The company also agreed to recognize the Mineworkers union as the representative of workers at the factory and to throw out the yellow union, the Confederación de Organizaciones Sindicales (COS).
Yellow unions, also known as company unions or protection contract unions, are used extensively in Mexico to keep out independent unions that seek to genuinely represent the interests of workers. Given experience to date, international supporters will need to be vigilant to ensure that this new agreement is implemented.
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