14 February 2011 ICEM InBrief
A group of union leaders from the energy sectors of Mexico, Canada, and the US, including several ICEM affiliates, met in Los Angeles, US, on 28-29 January and debated topics such as North American energy integration, energy policies and privatization, natural gas policies, and petroleum extraction – particularly offshore – and refining.
The conference, hosted by ICEM affiliate Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), also took up solidarity with the independent trade union movement of Mexico.
Some of the conclusions drawn are that Canada and Mexico have become energy colonies of the US; privatization and deregulation have caused occupational health and safety to suffer; liberalisation of markets has basically seen environmental protection largely forgotten; and good jobs mean liveable, safe, secure, and unionized jobs. Anything less is unsustainable.
Conference participants also concluded that decent jobs are being lost while privatized oil and gas companies exploit and export wealth. Delegates also rejected the notion that new electrical capacity must be private and deregulated, and identified this area as the next round of attacks to come.
The conference also said indigenous peoples’ rights are being trampled on or bought off, and countries face greater handicaps in assuring that their energy resources help their own citizens.
The Tri-Nation Energy Workers’ Network in Los Angeles consisted of Canadian unions Communications, Energy, Paperworkers (CEP) Union, the Power Workers Union (PWU), Canadian Office & Professional Employees’ Union (COPE 378), and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); US unions included the UWUA, United Steelworkers (USW), and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (UWUA).
And the Mexican unions included the Authentic Workers’ Front (FAT), the National Miners’ and Metalworkers’ Union (SNTMMSRM), the National Union of Technical and Professional Petroleum Workers (UNTyPP), the Mexican Union of Electrical Workers (SME), and SUTIN, a nuclear workers’ union, and CNEE, an energy union.
This ICEM release is also available on the ICEM Web-site (http://www.icem.org/en/78-ICEM-InBrief/4251-Tri-Nation-Energy-Workers’-Network-Convenes-in-Los-Ang)