Canada must take every measure possible "to prevent the loss of life," warns USW Canadian Director Ken Neumann.
The United Steelworkers union is calling for urgent action by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dissuade Mexico's government from deploying potentially deadly force against striking Mexican mine workers.
"The United Steelworkers fears that there could be blood shed if this occurs," USW National Director for Canada Ken Neumann says in a letter delivered to the Prime Minister today.
"We respectfully and urgently request that the Canadian Government take every diplomatic and other measure that it can to immediately communicate with the Government of Mexico to refrain from using Military and Police force to intervene in an industrial dispute at Grupo Mexico's Cananea copper mine in the state of Sonora," Neumann's letter states.
Organized labour and other groups in several countries are urgently requesting their governments make similar appeals to Mexico to refrain from military and police action against the miners, members of the Los Mineros union.
Without allowing the union to present evidence, a questionable ruling by a Mexican court last week stated 1,200 workers are to be dismissed, a strike they initiated in July 2007 terminated and the union's collective bargaining agreement with Grupo Mexico be extinguished.
Grupo Mexico and the Mexican government have waged a four-year campaign of repression and abuse of power against Los Mineros – Mexico's strongest independent union – and its democratically elected leader Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, who is currently living in exile in Canada.
The USW letter also has been sent to Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and to Mexico's Ambassador to Canada, Francisco Barrio-Terrazas.
To view the letter's full text, please visit www.usw.ca.
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Contacts: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-487-1571; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221 / 416-544-5966 / email@example.com
Following is the complete text of the letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada:
17 FEBRUARY 2010
The Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Request for Urgent Action from Canadian Government: Mexican Government Prepared to Use Military Force Against Striking Mineworkers in Cananea, Sonora
Dear Prime Minister:
We respectfully and urgently request that the Canadian Government take every diplomatic and other measure that it can to immediately communicate with the Government of Mexico to refrain from using Military and Police force to intervene in an industrial dispute at Grupo Mexico's Cananea copper mine in the state of Sonora.
The United Steelworkers fears that there could be blood shed if this occurs.
On 11 February 2010 a Mexican court, without a full examination of evidence, ruled the termination of the collective bargaining agreement between Grupo Mexico and Section 65 of the National Union of Mine, Metallurgical, Steel and Allied Workers of Mexico (Los Mineros).
The court has ruled that 1,200 workers, members of Los Mineros Section 65, are to be dismissed, a strike they initiated in July 2007 is terminated and that the union's collective bargaining agreement with Grupo Mexico is extinguished.
Mr. Prime Minister, as you are well aware, the dispute between Grupo Mexico and Los Mineros is a long-standing one. The Mexican government has allied itself with Grupo Mexico in a more than four-year campaign of repression and abuses of power to eliminate the Los Mineros union, which is that country's strongest independent union led by Napoleon Gomez Urrutia.
The Mexican government and Grupo Mexico have conducted a four-year campaign to depose Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, the duly and democratically elected leader of Los Mineros, who is currently residing in Canada.
We sincerely appreciate every effort the Canadian government can take to help prevent the loss of life in Mexico.
We are sending a copy of this letter to Mr. Lawrence Cannon, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in order to immediately notify the Ministry of our concerns and to request that Mr. Cannon work with your office to immediately contact the Mexican government in Ottawa and Mexico.
We are also sending a copy of this communication to Mexico's Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Francisco Barrio-Terrazas, to further communicate the United Steelworkers' request for the Immediate assistance of the Canadian government in communicating with the Mexican government over this grave and urgent matter.
We are also sending a copy of these communications to the Canadian Labour Congress, its federations of labour across Canada and to USW affiliates.
Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for your anticipated assistance.
National Director for Canada, United Steelworkers
Hon. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
Mr. Franciso Barrio-Terrazas, Mexican Ambassador to Canada
Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers
Ken Georgetti, President, Canadian Labour Congress