USW Calls on Federal Government to Crack Down on Anti-Worker Practices by Canadian Mining Companies

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) union is gravely concerned about reports of union-busting by Americas Gold and Silver, a Canadian mining company, at the San Rafael mine in Cosalá, Mexico.

Workers at the mine went on strike on Jan. 26, 2020, demanding recognition of their union, the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM), also known as Los Mineros, and led by Napoleón Gómez Urrutia.

Mexico’s Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board conducted a representation vote on Sept. 17, 2020, and certified Los Mineros as the union to represent the workers. However, the company refused to accept the results and has instead adopted a confrontational position, accusing the union of criminal activity and threatening to shut down the project. These efforts continue even after Mexico’s president publicly called on the company to work with Los Mineros.

“Trade agreements protecting workers’ rights are useless if they are not followed,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann. “The federal government must demand accountability by bad actors like Americas Gold and Silver and crack down on anti-worker practices.”

In addition to the labour dispute, there are allegations of environmental damage and unfair dealing with local landholders.

The USW calls on the Canadian government to engage impartially with the union, the company and the Mexican authorities to resolve the dispute by accepting the results of the representation election and respecting freedom of association (as required by the CUSMA), the community, and the environment.

USW further calls on the federal government to take up the model legislation proposed by the Canadian Network for Corporate Accountability, which is needed to address abuses of labour and human rights by Canadian mining companies in the extractive sector. USW is a member of the CNCA.

The USW represents 225,000 workers across Canada in nearly every economic sector, including tens of thousands of members in the mining industry. The union represents 850,000 workers in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.


For further information:

Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell), sdevine@usw.ca

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