After years of organising followed by a government-mandated election, a battle to represent tug workers in seven ports in Mexico has finally been won by an affiliate of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P).
An overwhelming majority has voted – for the second time – to be represented by the MM&P affiliate Orden Mexicana de Profesionales Marítimos y Portuarios, Similares y Conexos (Orden Marítima).
MM&P is one of two unions affiliated to the Nautilus Federation in the US.
Workers at Boluda first chose Orden Marítima to represent them in July 2021. But the company challenged the results, and the government ordered that a second election be held.
In the second election, 82% of the tug workers in seven ports voted in favour of Orden Marítima.
They ratified their first contract earlier this year.
Members of Orden Marítima now crew the tugs top to bottom: they work as captains, ordinary seamen, oilers and in other capacities. There are 260 people in the bargaining unit.
'Relations with management are now good,' says MM&P United Inland Group representative Eduardo Iglesias, who visited members of the union in July 2022 in the ports of Altamira and Tampico.
On the heels of this success, Orden Marítima is expanding its organising efforts throughout Mexico to other tug companies, fishing companies and ferries.
It already represents about 70 workers at SAAM Towage, which is based in Chile and operates in Mexico's ports alongside Boluda.