USW: Mexican Steelmaker Violating Workers’ Rights

Contact: Ben Davis, 412-562-2501 or bdavis@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) union today condemned labor rights violations by Mexican steelmaker Altos Hornos de México, S.A. (AHMSA), a major exporter of steel to the U.S. market.

“AHMSA has systematically denied the rights of its workers in order to drive down steel prices by imposing a company-controlled union in violation of Mexico’s Constitution and international law,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “That is unfair to its workers in Mexico and unfair to steelworkers in the United States.”

In 2008, AHMSA withdrew recognition from the national mining and steelworkers’ union, known as Los Mineros, and subsequently signed a contract with a pro-company union. 

In November 2018, the Mexican Federal Labor Board ruled that the company union was illegally constituted and voided its statutes and legal registration. However, AHMSA has refused to bargain with Los Mineros and continues to “negotiate” with the company union, while exporting about 450,000 tons of steel annually to the United States.

AHMSA has also withheld millions in dues owed under its contract with Los Mineros, and refused to recognize an election conducted by the Labor Board at the Hercules Mine, which Los Mineros won in 2016. On several occasions, company union members have violently attacked Los Mineros supporters. 

“AHMSA’s unfair and illegal actions demonstrate why we need strong labor rights improvements and enforcement. Mexico must act quickly to pass and implement strong labor law amendments. Mexico must also be a better partner in fighting unfair trade that jeopardizes North American jobs and security interests,” Gerard said.

“AHMSA is undermining both and wants to shift the story away from their labor abuses. We won’t let them get away with it,” he said.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.  

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