·  Statement

A New World of Possibilities for Workers: Napoleon Gomez Becomes A Senator in Mexico

USW International President Leo W. Gerard has written a letter to Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, congratulating him on the occasion of his swearing as a Senator of the Mexican Republic.

Napoleon Gomez is the Secretary General of Los Mineros, the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico (SNTMMSRM). USW stands in solidarity with workers and trade unionists in Mexico and their fight for labour and human rights.

Napoleon Gomez lived in exile in Canada as the Mexican government conducted a campaign of repression against him and Los Mineros. Napoleon's return to Mexico to become a senator is a historic achievement and an important occasion for workers not only in Mexico, but throughout North America and around the world.

***

Dear Napoleón,

As you prepare to return to Mexico to be sworn in as a Senator of the Mexican Republic, I wanted to take a moment not only to congratulate you on this historic achievement, but also to reflect on its significance for workers not only in Mexico but throughout North America and around the world.

Los Mineros have won a tremendous victory, for your families, the workers of Mexico, and the international working class.

Three Mexican presidents – Fox, Calderon, and Peña Nieto - tried to defeat you, but they all failed. Grupo México and other big mining and steel companies and their puppet unions stood in your way, but you rolled over them.

For this victory, the Mineros paid a heavy price. Today we remember the Mineros who gave their lives over the past 12 years in defense of your rights and your union: Héctor Álvarez Gómez, Mario Alberto Castillo, Reynaldo Hernández González, Juventino Flores Salas, Víctor Sahuanitla Peña, Marcelino Sahuanitla Peña, Quintín Salgado Salgado. There will be justice for these brothers!

We also remember the 65 workers who perished at Grupo México’s mine at at Pasta de Conchos, the many other Mineros who have died in preventable industrial “accidents,” and the thousands affected by Grupo México’s’ toxic waste spill in the Río Sonora valley and other unnecessary acts of environmental contamination. There must be justice for all of the victims of government and corporate impunity.

The Steelworkers and Workers Uniting are proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with you and Los Mineros in this fight. Even before the attempt by Vicente Fox to remove Napoleon from the union leadership in February 2006, our members in District 12 at the Asarco copper mines in Arizona had worked with Los Mineros in both Cananea and Arizona in their fight against Grupo Mexico. When you received word of an imminent threat of arrest while you were at Pasta de Conchos supporting the families of the 65 miners killed by Grupo Mexico, we helped you and your family cross the U.S. border to Albuquerque, New Mexico where you were sheltered by our then District Director, Terry Bonds. But we knew that with Fox in Mexico and Bush in the White House, the U.S. would not be a safe place. So we helped you get to Vancouver, Canada, where you have led the struggle for the past 12 years, working from your office in District 3 of the United Steelworkers.

Over the past 13 years we have forged unbreakable bonds of solidarity. On May 26, 2005 we signed a Strategic Alliance, which was expanded and strengthened in the Solidarity Alliance signed at the 2011 USW International Convention. Last year, Los Mineros joined Workers Uniting, the Global Union formed by the USW and Unite the Union representing two million workers in Canada, Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Read the full text of Leo Gerard's letter to Napoleon Gomez (pdf)

28 August 2018 - USW Release – USW Welcomes the Return of Napoleón Gómez to Mexico

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