|25 April 2011||ICEM InBrief
The ICEM affiliate, National Union of Mine, Metal, and Steel Workers (SNTMMSSRM) of Mexico, or Los Mineros, and the union’s General Secretary, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, were announced last week as the 2011 recipients of the Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award by the US national labour centre, AFL-CIO.
The award, created in 1980, is named for the first two presidents of the AFL-CIO, George Meany and Lane Kirkland, and is awarded annually to a person and organisation exemplifying outstanding courage in the struggle for human rights through trade unionism.
In an AFL-CIO resolution, Gómez is cited for his “courageous commitment to defend the aspirations of Mexican workers to higher living standards, democratic labor unions, rule of law and a better future for their country.” Gómez lives in exile in Canada, after being forced to leave Mexico, where he continues to negotiate collective agreements for workers in Mexico.
Los Mineros, despite massive repression in Mexico, is bargaining contracts and organising new workplaces with the help of trade union allies such as the United Steelworkers (USW). Some of the most egregious attacks on trade unions by the Mexican government have come against Los Mineros.