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Mexican auto workers in Silao, Guanajuato, just scored a huge victory that has been years in the making. After first ridding themselves of a corrupt, business-friendly union last year, 6,500 workers at the massive General Motors plant in Silao voted this week on which union would represent them moving forward. On Thursday, Feb. 3, news broke that workers overwhelmingly voted to join the Independent National Auto Workers Union (Sindicato independiente nacional de trabajadores y trabajadoras de la industria automotriz), securing a major victory for rank and filers who have been fighting for a more independent and more democratic union.

In this interview, recorded before the union election took place, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with auto worker and labor organizer Israel Cervantes about this pivotal struggle and what the union election means for workers and the labor movement in Mexico and beyond. Israel Cervantes was one of the first workers at the Silao plant to begin organizing against both the corrupt union and the company. After working at the plant for 13 years, Cervantes was fired for organizing a demonstration of solidarity with striking GM workers in the US in 2019. He is now the leader of a new organization called Generando Movimiento (Generating Movement).

Pre-Production/Studio/Post-Production: Cameron Granadino
Spanish-to-English translations provided by Bruce Hobson, coeditor and translator for the México Solidarity Project


The transcript of this interview will be made available as soon as possible.

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Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
Follow: @maximillian_alv