Navigation Bar

Home -> UE News -> 2002 Archives -> Article

Energy and Strength Mark
Twelfth FAT Congress


The 12th National Congress of the FAT ... New members, activists address FAT Congress ...
The 12th National Congress of the FAT. At right, new members, activists address FAT Congress.

The twelfth National Congress of the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) brought together some 250 delegates from the different sectors of the FAT, as well as friends and supporters from Mexico and abroad in the city of Oaxtepec from Nov. 17-19.

New energy was provided by the welcome presence of representatives of the 2,600 member bus drivers’ union that recently affiliated with the FAT, as well as representatives of gas station attendants, and other new groups of workers. The diversity of the organization was clearly evidenced by the discussion involving workers from various sectors. For example, members involved in opposition to the confiscation of land for the new Mexico City airport participated, as did others from the FAT cooperatives who sold jam and hand woven and embroidered serapes, T-shirts and literature.

The various unions and movements also made their presence felt by the colorful banners that were hung in the auditorium where the main sessions were conducted. Among them, one honoring the recently assassinated human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa proclaimed: " Mexico it is more serious to violate commercial norms than human rights."

Trade unionists attended from the National Union of Workers (UNT) and other Mexican unions, as well as from Europe, the United States and Canada. UE was represented by International Labor Affairs Dir. Robin Alexander — who also delivered a message from Japan’s progressive labor federation, Zenroren.


FAT leaders opened the congress by expressing disappointment that after one year in office, President Vicente Fox had not delivered on his promises. Instead, the Fox administration has continued protection for official unions and company unions and presided over plant closings and layoffs.

Prior to the Congress the FAT leadership developed a project aimed at a stronger organization, with discussions within all sectors. "The product of this discussion will be considered by the delegates at the Congress and from their work will arise an organization which is more cohesive, more dynamic, and more committed with the cause of workers and of society."

The documents adopted by the Congress reflected that intense effort. Although the Constitution and By-laws of the organization were not modified, the responsibilities of each of the three national leaders were redefined, essentially as organization, finance and publicity.

The FAT’s women’s network offered a proposal as a complementary effort to further analyze and move forward the work with women within the FAT. In doing so, it spoke of the need for "transversality" — that the work with women must cut across the entire organization and must be the responsibility of all, including the national coordinators. The proposal was rapidly incorporated with virtually no debate.


A major barrier to reform of federal labor law, reported Arturo Alcalde, legal counsel for the FAT, is the insistence of industry on flexibility and the opposition of the official unions to change.

Although during the convention it seemed that several slates might run, by the time of the election it appeared that consensus had been reached and a single slate comprised of Benedicto Martinez, Antonio Villalba and Erick Quesnel was elected by an overwhelming majority in a secret ballot vote. Elections were also held for representatives of the various sectors, and suggestions were taken for working committees.

One of the areas where delegates had concluded that work was required was in strengthening the organization of the FAT in the various regions in which it operates.

In the message from UE delivered by Alexander, the union expressed its appreciation for its alliance with the FAT. "We congratulate and thank you for your unwavering commitment to establishing independent, democratic unions against tremendous odds, your clarity of vision, and your willingness to take on difficult questions and to make proposals about possible solutions," the UE officers stated.

UE News - 2/02

Home -> UE News -> 2002 Archives -> Article

Home • About UE • Organize! • Independent Unions • Search • Site Guide • What's New • Contact UE
UE News • Political Action • Info for Workers • Resources • Education • Health & Safety • International • Links

Copyright © 2003 UE. All Rights Reserved