Mexico: one killed in mining clash

Mineworker Reynaldo Hernandez Gonzalez was killed and several workers were injured on Aug. 13 in a violent confrontation between rival groups of miners at Grupo Mexico’s La Caridad mine in Nacozari, in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. There were 15 arrests, and about 20 workers reportedly disappeared. The violence broke out when a group of fired workers who were loyal to the main mineworkers union, the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMRM), returned to the mine to demand that they be rehired. Apparently they fought with supporters of a company union.

Nacozari is near the huge Cananea copper mine, the center of a strike by about 3,000 workers against Grupo Mexico that started on July 30. On Aug. 15 two labor courts suspended an Aug. 7 decision by the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Council (JFCA) that declared the strike illegal and empowered the company to fire all the strikers. According to one of the strikers’ lawyers, Carlos de Buen, the strike can now coninue at least until the middle of September, when another hearing is expected. Don La Botz, editor of the monthly Mexican Labor News and Analysis (MLNA), writes that the strike “pit[s] what has become one of Mexico’s most militant unions against one of the country’s largest and most aggressive corporations… The strike may well be one of the turning points in the history of the contemporary labor movement.” (MLNA August 2007, Vol. 13, #8; La Jornada, Mexico, Aug. 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Aug. 19

See our last posts on Mexico and the labor struggle.