Casa Obrera del Bajio
Workers at a General Motors plant in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico, voted to oust one of Mexico’s largest labor organizations, “Miguel López Trujillo” Union of the Confederation of Workers of Mexico (CTM), in February, 2022, and establish their own independent union, governed by them, not by GM.
Workers at GM had grown tired of years of unfair labor treatment that has caused them economic and social instability. The union that now represents GM workers is an independent and democratic union called the National Independent Auto Workers’ Union (Spanish acronym SINTTIA). The change of union representation at the GM plant was led by independent labor activists in Casa Obrera del Bajio.
Casa Obrera del Bajio (COB) was created in April 2019 by a group of GM workers dissatisfied with their living and working conditions. Together, they decided to create a space where workers could organize without fear to improve their living and working conditions and finally break free of the chains of corrupt unions, employers and government.
COB is transforming societies by being an organizational tool for unorganized workers and independent and democratic unions. Today, COB is supporting workers at more than twenty companies in their region, who stopped production to demand a fair distribution of profits. COB is supporting these workers by accompaniment in the filing of lawsuits, giving legal advice, providing organizational support and training.
COB’s purpose is to raise awareness, organize, and support all workers who want to break with their oppression. COB raises awareness on the importance of fighting for better working and living conditions by contributing to their community and by creating connections with other organizations such as peasants, cooperatives and independent unions.
Members of COB coordinate courses, workshops, social activities of various kinds with the intention of promoting employee rights in the workplace and women’s rights. COB workshops and courses focus on historical knowledge of topics such as Mexican trade unionism, the associative world of the workers in Mexican labor movements. An example of activities that COB has developed is a project that promotes social and family interactions through visual elements. The project is called “Cinema Club” where members of COB watch films that show peers coexisting peacefully in equality, portray parents and children living in a healthy family environment, and at the same time reinforce and emphasize the cause for social and economic justice.
by Estephanie Lua