United Steelworkers and Mexican Mineworkers Demand Justice for Protesters Killed in Mexico

CONTACTS: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966 or 416-434-2221

Toronto, Nov. 27, 2017 – The United Steelworkers (USW) in Canada and the United States join the Mexican National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Related Workers (“Los Mineros”) in demanding justice for the families of two protesters against the Media Luna mining operations in Guerrero, Mexico, owned by the Canadian company Torex Gold Resources, who were killed on Nov. 18. 

In a letter to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and chief NAFTA negotiator Cynthia Freeland, USW International President Leo W. Gerard and Canadian National Director Ken Neumann called on the Canadian government to meet with Mexican authorities, the employer and Los Mineros to reach a solution to the conflict that avoids further violence. 

Workers at the mine have been on strike since Nov. 3, protesting working conditions and demanding the right to join Los Mineros. The workers have been supported by residents of local communities. Members of the company-supported protection union, the CTM, have been accused of responsibility for the attacks.

According to the USW leaders, the conflict at Media Luna underscores the need for enforceable labor rights protections that must be implemented prior to the launch of a new NAFTA. Without such measures, they argue, “there is little possibility for improving freedom of association and closing the wage gap that has driven the relocation of Canadian jobs.”

In addition, they state, the conflict “underscores the need for an extractive industries Ombudsperson to ensure transparency and accountability in overseas operations” of Canadian mining companies.

The USW will be sending a delegation to Guerrero to investigate the attacks on the striking miners and their communities. The USW and Los Mineros have had a strategic alliance since 2005 and have worked closely on cross-national organizing, bargaining and human rights issues.

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