Workers' Control in Latin America, 1930-1979

By Jonathan C. Brown | Go to book overview

strikes of more than sixty days' duration. Ironically, the perception of the miners as being a "radical" sector remained; this time it was the miners--and not the government--who suffered the effects of this perception. Many copper miners (especially union leaders) who had been active in the quest for nationalization were jailed or killed. In 1978, the Pinochet regime reinstituted the legality of union elections, yet labor repression continued. In May 1983, nevertheless, the El Teniente copper miners mounted a strike that again mobilized countrywide opposition to the government in power. It was a heroic effort indeed, especially in the face of retaliation much more severe than being fired from the job. Yet here again the same patterns were repeated. After negotiating with the Pinochet regime, the miners agreed to wage concessions. 80 The elected government of Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin finally succeeded Pinochet's regime in 1990, and although their clout has declined along with the copper industry, it remains to be seen how the miners will take advantage of the political opening to renew their struggle for workers' control.


Notes

The author would like to thank Professor Paul Drake for reading and commenting on a draft of this chapter.

1.
See, for example, George M. Ingram, Expropriation of U.S. Property in South America: Nationalization of Oil and Copper Companies in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile ( New York, 1974); Markos J. Mamalakis, The Growth and Structure of the Chilean Economy: From Independence to Allende ( New Haven, 1976); Theodore H. Moran, Multinational Corporations and the Politics of Dependence: Copper in Chile ( Princeton, 1974).
2.
Ingram, Expropriation of U.S. Property, 220.
3.
Paul W Drake, Socialism and Populism in Chile, 1932-1952 ( Urbana, Ill., 1978), 214-18.
4.
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Chile: Labor Union Membership, 1943," in Labor Conditions in Latin America, Latin American Series, no. 21 ( Washington, D.C., 1945),1-2; Confederación de Trabajadores de Chile (CTCh), Declaración de principios y estatutos de la Confederación de Trabaiadores de Chile ( Santiago, 1943),4-7.
5.
Gonzalo Falabella, Clase, partido y estado: La CUT en el gobierno de la Unidad Popular ( Lima, 1975), 2,6; Henry Landsberger, Manuel Barrera, and Abel Toro, El pensamiento del dirigente sindical chileno: Un informe preliminar ( Santiago, 1963),17-18.
6.
Manuel Barrera, El confficto obrero en el enclave cuprifero ( Santiago, 1973), 54; Jorge Barría Serón, Los sindicatos de la Gran Mineria del Cobre ( Santiago, 1970),138- 39. A look at the history of the labor movement within the copper industry shows that

-294-

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