Thursday, July 16, 2020
12:00 p.m. EDT
Susana Prieto, 20/32 Movement
Oscar Alzaga, Los Mineros
Cemelli de Aztlan, La Mujer Obrera
The new NAFTA just went into effect, and right-wing Mexican politicians and U.S. corporations are conspiring to gut the deal’s improved labor rules. It is critical that we fight back now to ensure these rules actually benefit workers.
Susana Prieto Terrazas is a leading labor lawyer for border maquila workers just released after imprisonment on trumped up charges and currently under threat of re-arrest. Oscar Alzaga is the legal advisor to one of Mexico’s few independent unions – Los Mineros – which has long been the target of violent repression.
About the Webinar
In a frontal assault on the core labor rights promised in the new NAFTA, Susana Prieto was arrested last month on trumped-up charges. Though initially released – an outcome aided by growing pressure from Mexican and U.S. activists – she now faces a new arrest warrant and harsh legal conditions designed to prevent her from building independent labor unions.
Why? She attempted to register an independent union to replace a “protection” union that was locking in low wages at a U.S. factory in Mexico.
Since the start of NAFTA renegotiations, at least five people associated with Oscar Alzaga’s union, Los Mineros – were assassinated or disappeared for their organizing work at Torex Gold’s Media Luna mine in Guerrero.
Despite this level of violence, Los Mineros continues to organize throughout Mexico. The union won a big victory against the Grupo Mexico corporation last year over profit-sharing payments to workers, and they continue to fight the company for adequate health and safety conditions at several of its mines.
Grupo Mexico’s U.S. subsidiary, Asarco, has also been the target of a contract-negotiation dispute with several U.S. unions. This led to a nine-month strike in Texas and Arizona that end only recently. The company’s CEO was among the corporate representatives invited to wine and dine with Donald Trump and Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the White House last week.
With the new NAFTA now in effect, it is critical that we use our grassroots power to hold the U.S. and Mexican governments to their promises of improved labor standards for all working people.