Since October 2009 the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) has been one of the primary targets of the Mexican government's attack on Freedom of Association. Most recently, the government has failed to take action to recognize the union's national officers who were elected in July. Instead, it issued arrest warrants against General Secretary Martin Esparza and another national leader, along with their legal counsel, based on charges regarding actions occurring two years earlier (the charges relate to an attempt by the SME to withdraw money from its own bank account as authorized by a judge after it had been frozen by government authorities).
Known for being a progressive, democratic union fairly representing its members, the SME is fighting for better conditions and salaries through collective bargaining and for a fairer society in general for all Mexicans. The SME has been a target for the Calderon government since 2009 when the President sent federal troops in to the electrical generating facilities (for Mexico City), shutting it down permanently, and illegally laying off 44,000 active and retired workers.
The SME has continued to function under difficult circumstances as a union in spite of the attempt to destroy it, and published a letter addressing the government in Mexico's daily newspaper 'La Jornada' to protest the constant attacks on the union. The letter outlined the fact that the government has dismissed 44,000 electrical workers, taken over their workplaces with military and police forces, seized the Union's bank accounts and jailed 13 workers. They call for an end to the criminalization of the SME and the release of the electrical workers being held as political prisoners, the withdrawal of the arrest warrants against the union's leaders, the return of the bank accounts, and the official recognition of the SME's elected leadership ("toma de nota") without further delay. The letter was signed by hundreds of individuals, organizations and activists from around the world who support the SME's struggle for labour rights in Mexico.
canadianlabour.ca, Wed Aug 31 2011