by Al Simpson
The strike by 70,000 auto plant workers in Matamoros, Mexico is now in its second week. They just held a “day without workers”, where the plants were idle, and production was completely halted. The strike has already cost the bosses $100 million and is slowing production at General Motors and Ford assembly plants. Photos on social media showed deserted factories and union bureaucrats struggling to keep production lines operating after workers put down their tools en masse. Over 50 factories have now stopped production as a result of the strike. The union bureaucrats and the bosses have been shown to be impotent.
After refusing to show up to work, the auto parts and electrical workers held a massive march through the city of 500,000, chanting “we will win this fight no matter what,” “the workers united will never be defeated,” and “empty plants, a day without workers!” The workers’ demands include:
- A 20 percent wage increase.
- $1,700 bonus payable immediately.
- A shorter workweek.
- A cut in union dues.
The workers understand that they are much stronger if they look beyond the national boundaries set up by the bosses. The rally began at the town square in Matamoros, but the workers decided to march to the border near Brownsville, Texas in order to appeal to American workers. Needless to say, there has been an almost complete news blackout of the strike and this march to the border. Nevertheless, workers in the United States and Canada have heard of the Mexican strike and are grateful for it, especially given all of the plant closures recently announced by GM and Ford.
The shortages at US plants because of the Mexican strike shows the international nature of capitalist production. Many auto manufacturers moved much of their operations to Mexico in order to save money on wages and break the strength of the auto workers’ unions. Meanwhile, despite Trump’s ranting against immigration, American agriculture depends on poorly paid Latin American immigrant labor, whose ability to organize is weakened by amti-immigrant terror. This strike demonstrates why fightbacks by the working class are much more powerful if international. Of course, the bosses and the union misleaders would fight such a prospect with all their might. But the workers can, by putting their trust in themselves and building rank and file strike committees, run strikes that would be international in nature, and would do a wonderful job of crippling the bosses.