Lessons of the Matamoros workers’ rebellion: Part three


New trade union bureaucracies or rank-and-file workers’ power?

Lessons of the Matamoros workers’ rebellion: Part three

Andrea Lobo

3 April 2019

Second wave: “Independent” unions step in

At this time, only about 14 companies had agreed to the 20/32 and were already carrying out firings, even though the strike was costing companies a whopping $50 million per day, according to Index.

On January 30, the strike began to spread to maquiladoras affiliated to the smallest of the three main unions in the city, the Workers Union of the Maquiladora and Assembly Industry (STIME), led by Rubén Longoria Uribe. (The SJOIIM, the Industrial Union of Maquiladoras Workers or SITPME and the Union of Maquiladora and Assembly Industry Workers or STIME are all part of the Confederation of Mexican Workers or CTM.) Some 1,500 maquiladora workers put down their tools at Spellman to demand the bonus of 32,000 pesos. The electronics company quickly agreed.

Matamoros Coca-Cola workers on strike

Hundreds of workers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant affiliated to the SJOIIM began partial stoppages to demand the 20/32. The Mexican financial daily El Financiero proclaimed the next day “the end of labor peace” in Mexico.

In the next few days, workers at Toyoda Gosei Rubber and other STIME plants joined the second wave of wildcat strikes in defiance of the union. After a four-hour strike at Ballinger on February 4, the company agreed to the 20/32, which led other workers at SITPME to organize a mass assembly that afternoon to call for a “general strike” demanding the 20/32, regardless of whether it was pegged or not to their contract. They also raised as a major demand getting rid of the union.

Thousands at 25 maquiladoras from SITPME and STIME were suddenly on strike, and workers at…

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