Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Mexican Autoworkers Win Major Victory at GM Plant

Workers at General Motors’ pickup-truck plant in the city of Silao, in the central state of Guanajuato, Mexico, voted to be represented by the independent labor union SINTTIA — a big win for workers trying to self-organize for better working conditions and pay.

K.S. Mehta

February 4, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Workers leaving a General Motors facility in Silao, Mexico, in 2019
Image: Sergio Maldonado/Reuters

On Tuesday and Wednesday, workers at General Motors’ pickup-truck plant in the city of Silao, in the central state of Guanajuato, Mexico, voted to be represented by the independent labor union SINTTIA.

Workers voted to join SINTTIA overwhelmingly, with 4,192 votes out of 5,389 valid ballots, in an election with almost 90 percent turnout. Mexico is the fourth-largest vehicle exporter in the world, and this decision by workers to fight for a new union could have an impact on workers at other GM plants and on autoworkers all over Mexico.

Employees at the factory voted in August 2021 to dissolve the contract bargained by a corrupt local of the Confederation of Mexican Labor (CTM), preventing the CTM from representing workers at the plant going forward. ​​The CTM had held the Silao contract since the plant opened in 1995 and is aligned with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), in power from 1929 to 2000. The CTM’s leaders would sign union contracts with companies and corrupt government officials before they even opened plants. During the initial vote to remove CTM in April, Interior Department inspectors discovered that at the offices where the union itself kept the ballot boxes, ballots had been destroyed, undermining the vote’s legitimacy. This was a bridge too far even for the imperialist, union-busting U.S., and a labor complaint was filed under the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (formerly NAFTA). The vote was rescheduled for August 2021 with more inspectors and observers to try to ensure the vote’s integrity.

The GM workers in Silao start out earning less than $9 a day, 60 cents lower than Mexico’s national daily minimum wage. To try to grow extremely meager earnings, workers would put money into a yearly union savings plan to earn interest, but the CTM would hold these funds over workers’ heads to force them to support the union. To add insult to injury, the CTM would use these funds to ​​make loans to workers at a rate of 50 percent, forcing them to join the union to borrow money and pay interest on it. Thus, one of the proposals that this caucus was elected on was to raise wages enough that workers would no longer have to take out loans to survive. The fight to oust the CTM and bring in a new union demonstrates the hatred of the CTM bureaucracy allied with imperialist bosses and the desire for union democracy.

This unionization effort is a win for workers trying to self-organize for better working conditions and pay, but the new union has a challenge ahead. They have not yet organized assemblies, but to have true union democracy that allows workers to have representation, workers would need to put forward suggestions such as having general assemblies with rank-and-file delegates and recallable candidates. It’s vital for the U.S. working class, socialists, and labor activists to closely follow the process in Silao. The Mexican workers are leading the way, and unions and organizations of the working class and oppressed must show active support. The U.S. government and the capitalists of our country oppress and exploit our brothers and sisters in Mexico, continuing the cycles of imperialist exploitation. We must raise our voices on this side and fight together against our common enemy.

Facebook Twitter Share

K.S. Mehta

K.S. Mehta is a research assistant in New York City.

Labor Movement

Protesters in NYC for Palestinian liberation.

Uniting Workers for Palestine Is a Fight for the Future of Labor

The struggle for Palestine shows the potential for the rank and file to push unions to break with imperialism and to build a new, combative, and internationalist unionism.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

November 27, 2023
A rally with people holding signs and a banner reading "Full funding"

Student Workers Stand Up for CUNY and Palestine

Attacks on CUNY and CUNY activists are an attack on all working people and students. Workers and students united can fight back.  

Olivia Wood

November 25, 2023

The Labor Movement Is Key for Palestinian Liberation

As part of the global movement in solidarity with Palestine and against the genocidal policies of the Israeli government, labor unions are taking action and demanding a ceasefire. This is not only a welcomed addition to the movement, but a necessary one that concretely shows the power of the working class.

Tristan Taylor

November 18, 2023

Organized Student Labor Must Fight for Palestine

Newly unionized academic workers have a unique opportunity, and a duty, to support the movement for a Free Palestine.

Rose Lemlich

November 17, 2023


The World Kissinger Built Must Die Too

Henry Kissinger died at 100 years old. But his legacy remains in the brutal world system he built and the future generations of imperialist ghouls he inspired. They all must go.

Samuel Karlin

November 30, 2023

Fact Check: Did German Leftists Try to Bomb West Berlin’s Jewish Community Center in 1969?

Answer: No. The bombing was undertaken by West Germany’s domestic secret service, originally founded by Nazis.

Nathaniel Flakin

November 29, 2023
Haverford College student Kinnan Abdalhamid and Brown University students Tahseen Ahmed and Hisham Awartani, Palestinian college students who were shot in Burlington, Vermont.

Haverford Faculty for Justice in Palestine Releases Statement Supporting Pro-Palestinian Students

Haverford College Faculty for Justice in Palestine have published a statement following the shooting of three Palestinian students in Burlington, Vermont.

A Pause in Genocide Is Not Enough: Jewish Voice for Peace Shuts Down the Manhattan Bridge

Amid a pause in Israel’s offensive on Gaza, Jewish Voice for Peace is showing that the movement for Palestine will continue. Civil disobedience must lead to broad protests which bring all sectors of the movement together.

Samuel Karlin

November 26, 2023