Day of Action on September 22nd to Support TRW Workers

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“The economic crisis is global, the impunity of the multinational corporations is worldwide but the solidarity is more powerful because it’s international. “

- Gumercinda de la Cruz del Angel, trabajadora de TRW -
 
On September 22, the labor board will hold the hearing of the evidence on TRW workers’ legal case.  The workers are calling CJM members and allies to join a day of action on September 22 to support their struggle with the fallowing actions:
 
Here is what you can do:
 
·     Calling and/or sending emails to TRW headquarters (a sample letter below)
·     Calling and/or sending faxes to the President of the Labor Board in Reynosa, Mexico (sample letter below)
·     Send emails to Presidents of the US and Mexico, demanding NAFTA’s renegotiation, Labor and Human Rights      and Environmental Protection, Fair Trade, Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice  (sample letter below)
·     Spread the word of TRW workers struggle
·     Write letters to the TRW workers, offering solidarity and financial support to:  ernestolizcano@hotmail.com,
 
Please send copy of your letters to CJM at: cjm_martha@igc.org, cjm_alonzo@igc.org, cjm_cynthia@igc.org
 
 
 
Please see below the links of the videos and newspapers of TRW workers’ mobilizations in Reynosa (in Spanish,) and in Livonia, Michigan.
 
*****
 
TALKING POINTS:
·         Demand that TRW recognize workers’ rights:  to safe jobs; to freedom of association; to collective bargaining; to severance payments and seniority as guaranteed by Mexican Labor Law.
·         Demand TRW reinstate workers who were fired unjustifiably and pay their severance and back pay in accordance with Mexican Law. full details at http://coalitionforjustice.net
·         All trade agreement should include Labor and Human Rights and Environmental Protection with mechanism of enforcement, Fair Trade, Food Sovereignty and Environmental Justice should be integrated.
·         Renegotiate NAFTA to level the playing field and give workers real protections from governments that allow wage and workplace safety exploitation of workers and destruction of the environment.
 
*****
 
Sample TRW headquarters message to send to:
John C. Plant, President and Chief Executive Officer TRW Automotive.
Phone: 734.855.2600.
 
Neil Marchuk Exec. VP for Human Resources.
Phone: 734.855.3871 (office) 734.748.0676 (cell) 734.855.2473 (fax)
John Wilkerson, Senior Communication Manager.
Phone: 734 855 3864.
Email: John.Wilkerson@trw.com
 
Subject: Urgent concern about TRW operations in Reynosa, Mexico
John C. Plant, President and Chief Executive Officer TRW
 
Dear Mr. Plant:
 
I am writing to express my deep concern about TRW’s operations in Reynosa, Mexico. It is imperative that TRW recognize and negotiate with the TRW Workers Coalition. The “official” union does not adequately represent the workers and has repeatedly failed to stand up for their rights.
 
TRW must respect workers’ rights to safe jobs, freedom of association and collective bargaining. It is urgent that TRW reinstate workers who were fired unjustifiably from their jobs at the TRW Del Norte Industrial Park plant and respect all severance and seniority payments as required by Mexican labor law.
 
I call on you to guarantee respect for workers rights and to take immediate action to address these concerns about TRW operations at the Reynosa plant. Please keep me informed of the steps you are taking to address this extremely serious situation.  
 
Respectfully,
 
*****
 
Sample letter to the president of Reynosa’s Labor Board
 
Hector Obregón Fuentes
President of the Conciliation and Arbitration Board number 4,
Reynosa, Mexico
Phone/fax 01152 899 924 2306 - ask for:  “tono de fax” (fax tone) to send the letter
 
Subject: Urgent concern about TRW operations in Reynosa, Mexico
 
Dear Mr. Obregon,
 
We are aware that on September 22 the hearing for the evidence of the TRW workers’ case will take place. We also know that TRW automotive in Reynosa unjustifiably fired workers who formed a Workers Coalition to negotiate their salaries and labor conditions for their relocation to an industrial park located at the other side of the city. It is disturbing to learn that TRW is blacklisting workers who formed the Workers Coalition in order that these workers will not find a job anywhere.
 
We are updated that TRW workers presented a complaint to the labor board because they were unjustifiably fired and because TRW is violating their right to work, to freedom of association and to collective bargaining according with the Mexican Law.
 
We also know that the TRW workers have taken over the labor board facility several times in order that the hearing will be set within the legal timeline of the process and so the labor authorities do not prolong the case indefinitely.
 
We will be watching you at the hearing of September 22, and we urge you to resolve the case in accordance with Mexican law, in order that these workers will be reinstated or their severance payments, including back pay will be paid to them.
 
Respectfully,
 
*****
 
Sample letter to the President and to the Secretary of Labor and Welfare in Mexico.
Please send copy of your letters to CJM at: cjm_martha@igc.org, cjm_alonzo@igc.org, cjm_cynthia@igc.org
 
Subject: NAFTA fails to protect workers’ rights
 
Felipe Calderón, President of México
CC: Javier  Lozano, Secretary of Labor and Welfare
 
Dear Mr. Calderon,
 
We are writing you because TRW, a company located in Reynosa, Mexico transferred 600 workers to a warehouse located in an industrial park at the other side of the city, where the salaries are lower and the working conditions are worse than those the workers agreed in their collective contract.   Due to the lack of representation by the CTM union, and in keeping with the Mexican Constitution and Labor Law, the workers formed a Workers Coalition to negotiate their relocation.  TRW unjustifiably fired all those workers who joined the Workers Coalition, violating their right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining. The workers presented a complaint against TRW for the unjustified firings and TRW blacklisted the workers, violating their right to a job, as established in the Mexican Constitution and Labor Law.
 
TRW argues that because of the economic crisis situation, they have the support of the CTM union and the local, state, and federal government’s authority to fire the workers without paying any severance payment. This argument can be verified in the following link where the Secretary of Labor and Economic Development is declaring that the TRW Workers’ Coalition does not have any representation, as statement that violates their right to freedom of association. In addition, the information that the Secretary is declaring is not accurate, showing that he is not updated on the case, and furthermore is protecting TRW:
 
In the following link Derly Rivas, the Industrial Director of the Labor and Economic Development Department of Reynosa also defended TRW declaring that the black list does not exist. However, he admitted that the corporations have the right to not hire anyone who participated in any protest or has presented any complaint against any company or the Labor Department. With this declaration he is accepting that the black list exists, and this is a violation of the right to a job as established in the Mexican Constitution and Labor Law.
 
We are aware that the TRW workers’ case  is a local  competition, but because TRW is a US multinational corporation like many others who have been making billions in profits under the protection of the NAFTA trade agreement with minimal regulation or law enforcement. Therefore, we urge you that TRW respect the workers’ right to job, their right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining as established in the Mexican Constitution and Labor Law.
 
We are also demanding that NAFTA be renegotiated, because NAFTA has not only increased poverty and unemployment, but also dismantled agriculture, promoted speculation, and the impunity of multinational corporations who also pollute the environment. This moment of economic, financial, housing, food and environmental crisis is evidence of the social impact and the failure of free trade policies and agreements not only nationally but also at a global level.
 
We believe that human rights, labor rights, and environmental protection should be included in the text of the agreements and with mechanisms of enforcement included.  We also believe that the issues of immigration and food sovereignty should be included because this global crisis is an opening to develop new policies for trade with responsibility, equity and integrity.
 
Respectfully
 
*****
 
Mexican Labor Law
 
Title seventh - Labor Collective Relationships
 
Chapter 1- Coalitions
 
Art 354 - The labor law recognize the right of forming Coalitions among workers or management.
Art 355 - Coalition is a temporal agreement among a group of workers or bosses to defend the interest that they have in common.
 
 
Links and videos of TRW workers mobilization’s on September 16 and 17 in Reynosa, Mexico
 
 *****
 
SAMPLE MESSAGE to President Obama
Phone: 202-456-111, 202-456-1414,
Fax 202 456-2461,
 
Please send copy of your letters to CJM at: cjm_martha@igc.org, cjm_alonzo@igc.org, cjm_cynthia@igc.org
 
Subject: NAFTA fails to protect workers’ rights

President Barack Obama, The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
 
Dear Mr. President, 

The NAFTA trade agreement has failed to meet the expectations of economic growth and development. Instead, NAFTA has increased unemployment, economic instability and insecurity, poverty and environmental injustice in the three countries of North America. 

Multinational corporations such as TRW, a US corporation based in Livonia, Michigan, have profited by exploiting cheap labor, thanks to free trade agreements. After many years of phenomenal earnings, corporations are now laying off workers. In the case of TRW in Mexico, they are laying off workers without the severance payments that the workers are owed by law. 

Trade agreements are about much more than trade. Trade agreements must have mechanisms to address and resolve the social consequences they create. 

Despite the economic crisis, now is the right time to renegotiate NAFTA and address the need for immigration reform, which is inextricably linked to NAFTA. 

The evidence of NAFTA's failure is everywhere - people are suffering the real consequences of unregulated and irresponsible free trade policies. 

I call on you to investigate and regulate multinational corporations such as TRW, which is violating workers' rights and operating with impunity in Mexico. 

I also urge you to uphold your commitment to address immigration reform and renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement immediately. 

Respectfully, 
 
*****
 
Videos and other links about TRW workers.
 
Background: TRW Automotive is a multinational corporation based in Livonia, Michigan, that produces seatbelts for auto industry brands from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia. The workers of the TRW plant located in Del Norte Industrial Park of Reynosa, Mexico have been organizing for the past five months.  The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras has supported these workers’ efforts. Jaime Ernesto Lizcano a TRW worker traveled to Livonia Michigan to meet with TRW executives on Mexico Independences Day, September 16th, but instead of meeting with him TRW management called the police to arrest Ernesto as well as CJM members and allies. Ernesto is traveling through the US and Canada to gain support for workers who have more than 15 to 20 years seniority, and TRW is arguing that they are troublemakers because they are demanding justice. 
 
In March of this year, TRW transferred 600 hundred workers to the warehouse of another TRW facility located at the other side of the city. In the TRW plant where they were relocated, the collective contract has lower salaries and labor conditions than the workers had in the previous facility. In addition, the warehouse does not have enough space to relocate the assembly lines for the 600 workers. The workers also have to travel two hours more to work, taking three different routes and investing forty percent of their salaries to arrive on time at the warehouse.
 
The CTM union that holds the contract with TRW agreed to this relocation without taking into account the conditions mentioned above and without informing the workers.
 
Due to the complicity of the CTM union and the company, the workers formed a Workers Coalition, in keeping with Mexican Labor law, to negotiate the relocation. However TRW and the Secretary of Labor and Economic Development of Reynosa did not recognize the Workers’ Coalition. TRW unjustifiably fired the members of the Coalition and circulated a blacklist of the workers, violating their right to job, to freedom of association and to collective bargaining, as established in the Labor Law and in the Mexican Constitution.
 
The TRW workers intercepted the Mexico Independence Day Parade in Reynosa, demanding Justice. (Please see the videos and newspapers of workers mobilizations above).  City Hall officials told workers that they would meet with them the next day September 17 at 10 a.m. to discuss their problem. It seemed this meeting was intended to keep workers at the meeting so they would not intercept the governor who was visiting Reynosa next day. However the following day the officials told the workers to bring their petitions in writing to the next Tuesday September 22 which is the same day as the hearing to present their evidence to the Labor Department.
 
TRW workers are asking CJM members and allies to join a day of action on September 22nd, by calling or sending faxes to the Labor Board at 9:00 am or by calling or sending emails to the Mexican and US Presidents and to the Secretary of Labor and Welfare. Please help by spreading the word about the TRW workers’ struggle, sending letters in solidarity to the workers, holding press conferences, issuing statements supporting workers, protesting, or doing any publication in the independent media supporting them and pressuring TRW to reinstate the workers or to pay them their severance payments with back pay and to respect workers’ right to job, to freedom of association and to collective bargaining.

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