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Cablegate: Amconsul Matamoros Hosts Union, Private Sector And

VZCZCXRO9796
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #4114/01 2142152
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 022152Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8263
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHRS/AMCONSUL MATAMOROS 1866
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MEXICO 004114

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INL/C (BROWN), DRL/AWH AN ILCSR, WHA/MEX AND PPC,
USDOL FOR ILAB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR ELAB PGOV ECON PINR SOCI MX
SUBJECT: AMCONSUL MATAMOROS HOSTS UNION, PRIVATE SECTOR AND
GOVERNMENT DISCUSSIONS ON DRUG ABUSE IN THE WORKPLACE


MEXICO 00004114 001.2 OF 003


1. SUMMARY: On July 20, AmConsul Matamoros hosted a meeting
aimed at opening a discussion on ways to prevent drug abuse
in general and abuse in the workplace in particular. The
meeting was attended by representatives of Mexico,s largest
labor federations (CTM), the local president of a national
business association, a GOM official (Public Security
Secretariat), a concerned parastatal agency and Mission

SIPDIS
Mexico,s Labor Counselor. The idea for such a meeting grew
out of a series of ongoing conversations involving Mission
Labor Counselor and the CTM on potential areas of increased
cooperation between unions and the USG. AmConsul Matamoros
enthusiastically embraced the idea of hosting the meeting as
a way to further promote the commitment made by Presidents
Bush and Calderon in March 2007 to increase US/Mexico border
cooperation. All participants at this exploratory meeting
expressed strong approval for the idea of a multidisciplinary
project involving unions, the private sector and the
governments of the US and Mexico. A follow-up meeting to set
realistic goals that would avoid duplication of other ongoing
efforts related to the problems of drug abuse was set for
August 14. If this pilot initiative succeeds it could well
serve as a model for expanded union and USG cooperation on
other issues and with other posts along the US/Mexico border.
END SUMMARY


UNION/USG COOPERATION
---------------------

2. Over the past year Mission Mexico,s Labor Counselor has
attempted to promote the idea of a more institutionalized
relationship between the USG and some of Mexico,s larger
labor unions. Until recently the reaction to this idea has
been long on promise but short on results. Mexico,s labor
unions traditionally operate in a somewhat closed environment
that does not extend beyond other union officials, sector
employers and Mexican government officials. In recent years,
for a variety of reasons, the Mexican unions have had little
direct contact with USG officials. Consequently, union
officials have been rather hesitant with regards to their
interactions with the USG.

3. In time some, although certainly not all, of the unions
have begun to open up. One of the ones that have been the
most amenable to working with the USG has been the
Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM). The CTM is perhaps
the largest federation of labor unions in Mexico and is rough
equivalent to the US, AFL-CIO. On several different
occasions CTM officials responded affirmatively to
suggestions from Mission Mexico,s Labor Counselor that they
consider establishing a closer cooperation with the USG. The
CTM,s Office of Social Welfare and Ecology seemed the most
open to the concept of Union/USG cooperation.

4. The CTM,s Social Welfare Office deals with a variety of
issues including those related to such topics as pensions,
child labor, women,s (workplace) rights and healthcare. At
present one of the CTM,s Social Welfare Office,s main
concerns is the issue of drug abuse in the workplace. Labor
Counselor therefore agreed to try and work with the union on
this issue and proposed serving as a liaison between some of
the CTM,s regional offices throughout Mexico and some of the
USG,s border posts.


SOME DIMENSIONS OF THE PROBLEM
------------------------------

5. Most Mexicans, including those in the labor sector, now
acknowledge that Mexico is no longer simply a drug transit
country; it is now also a drug consuming country. The
seriousness of the consumer aspects of drug abuse in the
workplace in Mexico was recently discussed at the July
monthly meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce,s Human
Resources and Labor Committee. According to the Committee
Chairman, a soon to be released study indicates that at least
12 percent of surveyed Mexican workers acknowledged the use
of some form of illegal substance in the workplace within the
last 30 days. The Committee Chairman said he could not speak
to the study,s methodology as he had not yet received a full

MEXICO 00004114 002.2 OF 003


copy of the finished report. However, as a labor attorney
with a strong human resources background, he speculated that
if 12 percent of surveyed workers admitted using illegal
drugs while at work the percentage was probably much higher.
Human nature being what it is, he opined, people often fail
to respond truthfully to polls asking about illegal
activities.

6. Another Committee member shared with the meeting
participants his company,s recent experience hiring new
employees in the Mexicali area of Mexico,s Pacific
Northwest. The Committee member stated that his firm
advertised job openings for 15 new positions. The company
received more than 450 applications for the job which did not
come as a particular surprise. What did surprise the company
was that 215 of the people who passed the initial screening
failed a pre-employment drug test. Other aspects of the
problems of drug abuse in the work place discussed at the
monthly meeting included such themes as drug abuse among
corporate executives, absenteeism, increases in job related
accidents, theft of company property, violence and drug
trafficking on company property.


AMCONSUL MATAMOROS HOSTS MEETING ON DRUGS IN THE WORKPLACE

--------------------------------------------- -------------

7. Because Matamoros has recently undertaken other public
outreach initiatives on both sides of the US/Mexico border it
seemed an ideal choice to approach with the idea of working
more closely with unions within its jurisdiction. Matamoros
enthusiastically embraced the idea as a way to further build
on the commitment made by President Bush and Mexican
President Felipe Calderon during their summit in Merida in
March 2007 to increase US/Mexico border cooperation.
Consequently, an initial meeting was set of July 20, 2007 and
Embassy Mexico,s Labor Counselor began communications with
CTM officials work out the arrangements for a gathering to
take place in Matamoros on that date.

8. During the planning for the July 20 meeting the event
eventually developed beyond just a meeting of USG and CTM
officials to include a Mexican government representative and
an official of a concerned NGO. At the actual meeting the
USG was represented by Matamoros, Principal Officer (PO),
its Consular Chief, an Econ cone E/L Officer and the head of
the post,s FSN employee association and the Embassy Labor
Counselor. The CTM was represented by the Secretary General
for Maquiladoras in Matamoros and the Coordinator General for
Union,s Social Welfare Office headquartered in Mexico City.
The private sector was represented by the state President of
CANACINTRA, a business alliance roughly equivalent to the
US,s National Association Manufacturers. The GOM was
represented by the Director of the federal Public Security
Secretariat,s (SSP) Crime Prevention office. Finally an NGO

SIPDIS
representative for an organization whose focus is on
treatment and rehabilitation called the &Center for Youth
Integration8 (CIJ) was present. CIJ is a parastatal agency
affiliated with the federal Health Secretariat, and acts as
the main implementer of GOM drug demand reduction activities.


AGREEMENT ON A PILOT PROGRAM
----------------------------

9. Under the auspices of Mission Mexico represented by
AmConsul Matamoros and the Embassy Labor Counselor, the July
20 meeting brought together labor and capital, as well as
both a prevention (the SSP representative) and a treatment
(the NGO rep) component to discuss the problems of drug abuse
in the workplace. Right from the start it became clear that
all meeting participants had ideas and resources that could
be brought to the table to address a common concern. It soon
became clear that the union, the business association
president and the SSP representative were in agreement on
many aspects of the problem. Their assessment of the issues
involved closely mirror the points mentioned above during the
totally separate meeting of the AmCham Human Resources and
Labor Committee meeting such as drug abuse among corporate

MEXICO 00004114 003.2 OF 003


executives (they have the ready cash to buy drugs),
absenteeism, increased job related accidents, workplace
theft, violence and drug trafficking on company property.

10. During the course of the meeting the group settled on
the idea of a multidisciplinary project involving unions, the
private sector and the governments of the US and Mexico
supporting the initiative as appropriate. For example the
Matamoros CTM leader offered to assume initial organizational
responsibility for the initiative and promised to reach out
to other non-CTM unions to invite their participation. The
local CANACINTRA President committed his organization to
reaching out to other private organizations, such as the
Matamoros Rotary,s Club. The NGO promised to provide drug
awareness training materials and possibly even trainers.
Matamoros, PO offered to reach out to her contacts in the
two nearest Mexican consulates on the US side of the border
and the SSP official offered to serve as the liaison with
other relevant GOM agencies.

11. At the end of the meeting the Mexico City CTM official
conferred with the participants to work out the next steps in
the initiative. The first thing everyone agreed on was the
need for a follow-up meeting to set realistic goals. The
participants also want to ensure that whatever they attempt
would not be duplicative of other ongoing efforts of other
organizations or government agencies related to the problems
of drug abuse. The follow-up meeting was set for August 14.


COMMENT
-------

12. At present there is no way to tell whether this initial
undertaking will produce the results hoped for by the local
Matamoros participants. However, from the perspective of
fomenting great cooperation and closer ties between posts in
Mission Mexico and at least one major Mexican labor
federation the meeting in Matamoros got things off to an
extremely promising start. If this pilot initiative succeeds
it could well serve as a model for expanded labor union and
USG cooperation on other issues and with other Mission Mexico
posts and add a new and practical element to the overall
mission goal of promoting increased US/Mexico cross border
cooperation.

13. This message was cleared with AmConsul Matamoros.

Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity and the North American
Partnership Blog at http://www.intelink.gov/communities/state/nap /
GARZA

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