Mexico labor reform seeks to loosen hiring, union secrecy; workers say they will be the losers

The Washington Post, 9/25/12

Mexico’s main political parties agree that the country’s dysfunctional labor laws need to be retooled. What they don’t agree on is how, with a new proposal to loosen hiring and increase union democracy threatening to unleash a wave of labor unrest.

Advocates say the reform, which will allow part-time work, hourly wages and outsourcing, will help Mexico create the million new jobs per year it needs for young people and migrants returning from the United States. It is backed by both President Felipe Calderon, who submitted it to Congress this month, and President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.

Opponents say Mexico’s low wages in several industries already make its labor force more attractive than increasingly affluent countries like China and the last thing its workers need is a reform that would pare the meager benefits and job security they currently enjoy.

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