Mexico's official labor unions have lost their ability to influence the policies of the federal government because of the defeat of their longtime ally, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), in the July 2 presidential election. PRI candidate Francisco Labastida lost the election to Vicente Fox Quesada of the center-right Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) by almost six percentage points (see SourceMex, 2000-07-05).
The defeat will almost certainly unravel the cozy relationship these labor organizations--the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico (CTM), the Congreso del Trabajo (CT), the Confederacion Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesinos (CROC), and others--enjoyed with the federal government for almost seven decades.
This relationship was strongest under the leadership of Fidel Velazquez, who presided over the CTM for almost 60 years. Velazquez, who ruled the union movement with an iron hand, died in 1997 at age 97 (see SourceMex, 1997-07-02).
Velazquez's successor, Leonardo Rodriguez Alcaine, is perceived as a generally ineffective leader. A member of the older generation of labor leaders, he is also said to lack …