Steelworkers Ask PM to Help Prevent Bloodshed Against Mexican Miners

TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers union is calling for urgent action by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dissuade Mexico's government from deploying potentially deadly force against striking Mexican mine workers.

"The United Steelworkers fears that there could be blood shed if this occurs," USW National Director for Canada Ken Neumann says in a letter delivered to the Prime Minister today.

"We respectfully and urgently request that the Canadian Government take every diplomatic and other measure that it can to immediately communicate with the Government of Mexico to refrain from using Military and Police force to intervene in an industrial dispute at Grupo Mexico's Cananea copper mine in the state of Sonora," Neumann's letter states.

Organized labour and other groups in several countries are urgently requesting their governments make similar appeals to Mexico to refrain from military and police action against the miners, members of the Los Mineros union.

Without allowing the union to present evidence, a questionable ruling by a Mexican court last week stated 1,200 workers are to be dismissed, a strike they initiated in July 2007 terminated and the union's collective bargaining agreement with Grupo Mexico be extinguished.

Grupo Mexico and the Mexican government have waged a four-year campaign of repression and abuse of power against Los Mineros - Mexico's strongest independent union - and its democratically elected leader Napoleon Gomez Urrutia, who is currently living in exile in Canada.

The USW letter also has been sent to Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon and to Mexico's Ambassador to Canada, Francisco Barrio-Terrazas.

To view the letter's full text, please visit www.usw.ca.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, (416) 487-1571; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, (416) 434-2221, (416) 544-5966, bgallagher@usw.ca


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