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Urgent Alert: Mexican Auto parts workers assaulted at Johnson Controls factory

August 18, 2010

MSN is pleased to announce that an agreement was reached on August 19, 2010 between factory management and the independent union.  MSN would like to thank those who responded to the action alert.

Photo by: Carlos Pacheco, El Heraldo de Puebla

On August 16, 2010, thugs entered a plant owned by Johnson Controls in Puebla, Mexico, and assaulted them, according to reports, "with sticks and stones, leaving many injured."  Two of the members of the Executive Committee of the newly formed union at the plant, Cándido Barreucos and Vigilio Melendez, were beaten in a company office and forced to sign letters of resignation, reportedly at gunpoint.  They are currently in a hospital with severe injuries. 

The union, affiliated to the Mexico's national Mineworkers union, was recognized by Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls on May 29, 2010 after a three day strike by the workers at the company's Interiors plant, also known as Resurrection. The Mineworkers believe that the assailants are members of the COS, the company union that was ejected after the strike. Under the agreement ending the strike, Johnson Controls agreed to recognize the Mineworkers as the workers' union representative and promised to take no reprisals against the strikers.

MSN has phoned and written to Johnson Controls, but the company has not responded. That's why we're asking you to join in urging the company to act now.

Our allies the US Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP) have set up automatic email pages you can use to take two actions: contact Johnson Controls and contact the Mexican government

Our local partner the Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador (CAT) is also under attack. Just a few days before the August 16 attack, the local NGO supporting workers organizing at Johnson Control plants in Puebla reported that three of its members were threatened by thugs who surrounded them in an isolated area while they were on their way to visit Johnson Controls workers. One man made a specific threat against CAT director Blanca Velasquez, saying she should stop messing with the CROM, the company union at a second Johnson Controls plant in Puebla where workers have also tried to organize an independent union. The CROM and COS at Johnson Controls plants are examples of protection contract unions rampant throughout Mexico, used by companies to keep out independent unions, too often with violent intimidation.

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