Differences between freedom of association and Union Freedom
Freedom of association is people’s human right to peacefully assemble, express their disagreements and file petitions, for example, to the government or their employers, to improve their rights and/or working conditions.
This freedom offers the possibility of expressing political opinions, participating in artistic projects and other cultural, economic, and social activities, participating in religious worship, founding, and joining trade unions, and electing representatives to defend their interests. In other words, it allows for diverse individuals and groups to coexist.
Freedom of unionization refers to this right of association seen from the pure labor point of view, in which the worker has the right to be part of a group formed by workers (union) for the improvement and defense of their rights.
Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contemplates this right to association, making it a fundamental right of all people.
Likewise, the International Labor Organization (ILO) issued agreements C087 and C098 on unionization and collective bargaining ratified by Mexico.
Article 9 of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (CPEUM) states: “The right to associate or assemble peacefully for any lawful purpose may not be restricted (…) An assembly or meeting whose purpose is to make a petition or present a protest against any action to an authority shall not be considered illegal and may not be dissolved”.
Article 123, paragraph A, paragraph XVI of the CPEUM mentions: “Both workers and employers shall have the right to join together in defense of their respective interests, forming unions, professional associations, etc.”.
Finally, Title Seven of the Federal Labor Law addresses collective labor relations and the right to form coalitions or unions.
Characteristics of labor unions
The law contemplates that there may be unions of groups of workers or groups of employers, in both instances, they are constituted for the study, improvement, and defense of their interests.
No one can be forced to join a union.
Unions can defend their rights before all authorities and exercise the corresponding actions.
It is forbidden for unions to intervene in religious matters, exercise the profession of merchants for profit, evade contributions, and falsify or hinder the employees’ participation in elections or consultaciones, among others.
The Union, the employer, and the employees may establish a collective bargaining agreement and validate it before the labor authority.
Intervention by Veggies from Mexico
As a result of the 2019 labor reform in Mexico, unions require a process to legitimize collective bargaining agreements, following a process that includes voting within the companies. It is worth highlighting that this process reached its deadline last April 30, 2023.
For agricultural companies to become part of the Veggies from Mexico community, they must demonstrate that their workers are aware of these rights, enforce them and allow the unions to carry out their work without influencing the workers’ decisions.