Solidarity with Teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico

At our Tuesday (July 5th) Delegate Council meeting, the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation (HVALF), AFL-CIO, voted to support the following resolution, and to donate $100 to the Michigan Solidarity Network with Mexico, to help fund their fund-raising efforts on behalf of the Oaxacan teachers (see this Facebook event page for more information on the event planned for this Saturday, 2-5pm):

Whereas:

  • Mexico’s independent teachers’ union, the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), have been on strike since May 2016 in protest against neoliberal education “reforms”;
  • These reforms, part of the neoliberal Structural Adjustment Program guided by institutions such as the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), would lead to massive layoffs of public education workers and outsourcing part of the public education sector through the issuing of educational bonds by the Mexican Stock Exchange;
  • The Mexican government has imprisoned leaders of the independent Local 22 Oaxaca section of the CNTE, Rubén Núñez and Francisco Villalobos, far from their homes;
  • Mexican police killed at least 9 protesting teachers and their supporters and wounded dozens more on the night of June 19, 2016 in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca;
  • Mexican media report that 6,000 federal police have been sent to the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, and Interior Minister Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong has issued an ultimatum for the teachers to end their protest actions;
  • International human rights organizations have documented a general pattern of abuse against the civilian population by Mexican military and militarized police forces, including violent repression against peaceful protesters;
  • Mexican federal military and police forces receive significant funding from the United States government under the Mérida Initiative;
  • The United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions concluded on June 20, 2016 that “Extrajudicial killings and excessive use of force by security officers persist” in Mexico;
  • Human Rights Watch’s 2016 Mexico report notes that “Since 2006, Mexico’s security forces have participated in widespread enforced disappearances,” with the number of disappeared people exceeding 25,000 according to the government’s own National Registry of Disappeared or Missing Persons;
  • Amnesty International’s 2015/16 report for Mexico noted that the government “prosecuted members of teacher unions in cases that appeared to be politically motivated”;
  • The U.S. Department of State’s 2015 human rights report for Mexico says “The government’s common failure to enforce labor and other laws left workers with little recourse regarding violations of freedom of association, poor working conditions, and other labor problems”;
  • The AFL-CIO has pointed out that “Since coming into office, the Peña Nieto government has made the subordination of Mexico’s powerful teachers’ unions, under the banner of ‘education reform,’ one of its priorities, with support from the business backed lobby group Mexico Primero. Last year the Congress passed reform legislation that subjected all teachers to dismissal if they failed to meet new testing requirements”;
  • The National Education Association (NEA), in a June 29, 2016 letter to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, has urged an end to state violence against demonstrators, the release of unjustly imprisoned teachers’ union leaders, and a “meaningful dialogue with the educators of Oaxaca regarding education reform”;

Now therefore:

The Huron Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO:

  1. Expresses firm solidarity with the independent teachers’ movement of Mexico;
  2. Endorses the Michigan Solidarity Network with Mexico’s July 9, 2016 fundraiser event in Ann Arbor in solidarity with the Mexican teachers’ movement;
  3. Endorses the NEA’s call for the Mexican government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to halt the use of excessive force against teachers, release the imprisoned teachers’ union leaders, and engage in meaningful dialogue with the teachers’ movement about the proposed education reforms.
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