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General Motors Fired Five Mexican Workers For Aiding the U.S. Auto Strike

Factory workers at a GM plant in central Mexico lost their jobs after refusing to work overtime in solidarity with striking GM employees in the U.S.

by Lauren Kaori Gurley
Sep 25 2019, 2:33pm

A General Motors plant in Mexico fired at least five workers who organized to aid the GM strike in the United States, according to the Mexican newspaper Periódico Correo and an organizer for workers at Mexican plant.

Mexican GM workers organized to resist pressure to increase assembly line production, which would offset GM’s losses in the 48,000-worker strike in the United States, according to Periódico Correo. The GM plant is located in Silao, a city in central Mexico, and manufactures Chevrolet and GMC pick-up trucks. Motherboard has independently confirmed that workers in the Silao plant are organizing in solidarity with their colleagues in the US; an organizer named Israel Cervantes Córdova working with people in the Mexican plant also confirmed that five people were recently fired for taking action.

In response to the recent firings, Córdova wrote in Spanish to a Facebook group dedicated to organizing workers at the GM Silao plant, “Today, 5 fighters were fired, which is clear evidence that [the company] is scared. I told the [fired workers] that those in the group will continue to move forward because we are fighting for our rights, and [GM] and [our] union only are fucking us.” Some of the fired workers from the GM plant demanded their jobs back, according to Correo Periódico.

On September 16th, GM workers with United Auto Workers (UAW) in the United States walked off the job at 33 plants in the South and Midwest—the largest auto strike in the United States since 2007. Workers are demanding increased wages for temporary workers and recent hires, the reopening of four U.S. plants, and better health care coverage.

The day before the strike, roughly 35 workers in Silao, who have been organizing to form an independent union, met to discuss how workers in Mexico could show solidarity with strikers in the United States, Córdova, Córdova, one of the meeting’s organizers and a former GM worker, told Motherboard. The workers agreed they would not work overtime hours, which they said could derail the effects of the U.S. work stoppage.

In an audio recording sent to striking GM workers in the United States and reviewed by Motherboard, one GM worker in Silao named Carlos Marquez said, “We are organizing to collaborate for the success of your efforts by not permitting overtime work at General Motors Mexico—because this hurts your movement and benefits your bosses who are the same as ours. Your struggle and problems are those of every GM worker in every part of the world.”

“We are willing to reinforce your struggle by not allowing [GM] to pressure us for greater productivity,” another GM worker in Silao said in an audio message sent to UAW strikers. “If our bosses are the same, then your complaints are ours.”

Auto workers earn an average hourly wage of $3.30 an hour, compared to $23.80 an hour in the United States. Since 2000, North American vehicle production has rapidly shifted from the United States to Mexico, where plants now run just as efficiently as they do in the United States for a fraction of the cost.

GM workers in Silao, along with others at plants in Brazil, Canada, and South Korea—where GM workers are also on strike—have sent messages of solidarity to GM workers in the United States.

GM and the UAW did not respond to requests for comment.

Tagged:
mexico
strike
general motors