Considerations for Working with Labor Unions in Mexico
October 20, 2016
Expansion into Mexico calls for cooperation with local communities, organizations, and government to establish and maintain a reputable presence. One such organization are the labor unions in Mexico who work with employers to build healthy working environments and ensure employee rights. When thinking about manufacturing in Mexico an overall understanding of Mexican Labor Unions and how they function is pertinent to maintaining a good relationship with your workforce and thriving as a company.
Company management and leaders must be cognizant of the labor unions they cooperate with and how they operate. Knowing prominent labor unions in your location is important for communicating your needs and negotiating employee benefits. For instance, it is not uncommon for local unions to approach new businesses before workers are hired. In this case, union affiliation should be announced to workers before they start. After a recent labor reform in 2012, union organizations are required to reveal union registration information, board members, and actions to the public.
Miguel Hernandez, the former Director of Operations at The Offshore Group in Saltillo, Coahuila stated that when working with unions, “The most important action is to consider the union people as associates of your company.” Unions are able to adapt to various business cultures and work with the company for the worker’s best interest. When deciding on a union, it is important to know that some are recognized by the government while others are considered independent. Hernandez suggests that working with a recognized union is easier to cooperate with, and negotiate worker benefits. He states, “It is important to consider that a group of 20 people or more, has the right to form a union, by our (Mexican) Constitution, so it is better to have a union that you can deal with, instead of waiting for the people to form their own.” Dealing with recognized unions enables communication and leaves room to discuss minor complaints or conflicts within your workforce.
Reputable Unions in Mexico
The Congress of Labor (Congreso de Trabajo - CT) oversees prominent union organizations that represent 85% of unionized workers.The best known labor union in Mexico is the Confederation of Mexican Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores Mexicanos - CTM). The CTM is Mexico’s largest labor union in Mexico and has political ties to the PRI, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party. CTM has a significant presence representing workers, and communicates its ongoing efforts to support businesses.
Another reputable labor union is the Revolutionary Confederation of Mexican Workers and Peasants (Confederación Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos - CROC). CROC came together as an official union during Mexico’s economic boom in the 1950s, when foreign investment was high. CROC represents various types of workers all over Mexico including artisans, professionals, and producers.
Labor Unions in the Mexican Industry
The manufacturing industry has special talent needs, along with the production line aptitude. Mexican industrial enterprises that employ more than 25 production workers hold about 90% of labor union affiliations. These types of unions are the most organized professional workers in the country. Unions cooperate with companies and workers to negotiate talent positions and placement, if jobs are needed or at risk. Hernandez also noted how some sites in Mexico have better union and worker cooperation than others; Saltillo, Coahuila is one of those sites.
Among the many topics to consider when branching into Mexico, working with a labor union is one of them. Mexican labor unions are important organizations with the potential to grow production value, and maintain communication with workers. Finding a trusted union organization is key to running a smooth collaboration, and an efficient work environment.
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