Mexican Miners Under Attack
Five months ago 1300 miners shut down the largest copper mine in Mexico in the mountain town of Cananea, in Sonora, Mexico. They were striking against terrible health and safety conditions in the mines. On last Friday (Jan. 11) the strikers report that over 800 heavily armed Federal and Sonora state police invaded the town putting at least 10 strikers in the hospital, some with serious injuries and they report that five strikers are missing.
For in depth background read David Bacon’s excellent story here.
On Wednesday 25,000 miners throughout Mexico held a one day strike in solidarity with the Cananea miners. The Cananea mine is owned by Grupo Mexico SAB. The company claims it has lost $600 million in lost production because of the strike.
The United Steelworkers (USW) has a strategic alliance with the Mexican strikers union, the Union of Mine, Metal and Allied Workers. This alliance was forged, in part, in a bitter strike in Arizona by the USW against Asarco mines, owned by Grupo Mexico SAB. The USW immediately sprang into solidarity action to support the Cananea miners. The union is demanding hearings in Congress aimed at stopping George W. Bush’s so called “Merida Initiative” to provide $1.4 billion to Mexican security forces. Leo Gerard, president of the USW said in his letter to Congress, “The Calderón administration’s flagrant violations of workers’ fundamental rights to organize and bargain and its continuing use of security forces to assault unarmed workers, raise serious questions about the desirability of providing Mexico with additional security funding.”
See the USW press release here.