Johnson Controls workers win democratic union representation

Congratulations to El CAT and all the workers and their families who stood together to fight until the end…
From the International MetalWorkers’ Federation…

After three days of strike and local and international solidarity action, workers at a Johnson Controls plant (Resureccion) in Puebla, Mexico won recognition of freedom of association and agreement on an improved profit sharing payment.

MEXICO: An agreement including the removal of a protection contract and recognition of freedom of association was reached at a Johnson Controls plant (Resureccion) in Puebla, Mexico after the workers went on strike for three days and with the support of local and international solidarity action.

On May 25, 342 workers at the Johnson Controls plant (Resureccion), producing interior components for BMW and Ford, signed affiliation cards for the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers (SNTMMSSRM). The workers demanded the company remove the company-controlled “protection” union (the Confederacion de Organizaciones Sindicales, or COS) and pay legally-required profit sharing, after the company’s notice that it would pay only $5 of profit sharing began the protest.

When an agreement was not reached and facing increasing intimidation, the workers at the plant went on strike at 14h30 on May 26.

Over the next three days the plant fell behind on its capacity to supply key clients including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Chrysler, Nissan and Volkswagen. In addition, pressure from local and international solidarity action resulted in the legal representative of Johnson Controls and the Sub-Secretary for Labor in the State of Puebla and the president of the Puebla Labour Board arriving and asking to negotiate with the workers.

The workers’ commission, accompanied by advisors from SNTMMSSRM, the Worker Support Center (CAT), and the Solidarity Center, negotiated an agreement which was eventually ratified by the workers. The key points of the agreement finally reached are:

  • Johnson Controls will end its legal relationship with the COS union
  • Johnson Controls will recognize the workers’ freedom of association in that they have chosen to affiliate to the SNTMMSSRM and in consequence Johnson Controls will provide all necessary support for registration of the collective bargaining agreement
  • The company will take no legal action against the workers based on the work stoppage
  • There will be no reprisals against workers who participated in the movement
  • The company will pay 100 per cent of lost time
  • Workers will receive a $100 bonus on May 31
  • Workers will return to work on May 31
  • The worker representatives will not send communications to the company in Mexico and the U.S. about labour situations that are not true
  • The company will offer employment to all current employees of the subcontractor OneDigit

Throughout the dispute, additional pressure was applied by IMF and its affiliates who contacted the Johnson Controls headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, jamming their switchboard in support of the workers in Mexico and demanding the company respect freedom of association at the plant.

Through this combined action the workers have secure representation by the union of their choice, SNTMMSSRM, which will be able to take over the collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the workers. In addition the agreement includes the incorporation of approximately 80 subcontracting workers into the SNTMMSSRM bargaining unit.

IMF will continue to work with the workers at this plant and at another Johnson Controls plant (FINSA) in Puebla, Mexico to ensure freedom of association is also secured here.May 31, 2010 – Anita Gardner

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