|IAM members attending a recent Spanish Organizing I class at the William W. Winpisinger Education Center showed solidarity with 43 student teachers who disappeared in Mexico.|
IAM members added their voice to the global outrage sparked by the September 2014 disappearance and probable murder of 43 Mexican student teachers who were ambushed by police, and then a drug cartel, while leaving the southern Mexican city of Iguala after protesting education reforms and soliciting donations for their school.
Mexico’s attorney general has said the students were killed after allegedly being turned over to a local gang on orders from Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca, who has been arrested. But a lack of hard evidence has raised questions about how much involvement state and national police had in what has become known as the Massacre of Ayotzinapa, the town where the students attended school.
Participants of a recent Spanish Organizing I class, the first of its kind at the William W. Winpisinger Center, took photos of themselves behind empty chairs bearing the faces of each of the missing 43 students.
IAM Grand Lodge Representative Macario Camorlinga, who was born in Mexico and still has relatives in the country, helped organize the show of solidarity.
“I strongly believe that as a labor organization we have the responsibility to promote justice and help stop any damage to the working class not only in the U.S., but all around the world,” said Camorlinga. “The atrocities committed by the Mexican government against their own people have to stop immediately.”
“The IAM stands in solidarity with families and loved ones of those student teachers who were kidnapped and murdered,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger, “and with those progressive elements of civil society in Mexico who demand justice for these murdered students. The IAM recognizes that a threat to a worker anywhere is a threat to workers everywhere.”
The students’ disappearance has reignited broader conversations about human and workers’ rights in Mexico, one of the U.S.’s top trade partners.
“Public corruption, abuse and impunity are also causes of the near absence of genuine industrial relations in Mexico, which artificially depresses wages and limits economic growth,” wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a letter to President Obama.