FAT in Mexico
El Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) is a politically independent organization comprised of union and farm worker representatives, cooperative members, and political party representatives. FAT has been working since 1960 to advocate for the rights of workers, especially female workers in Mexico’s manufacturing industry. Women union and cooperative representatives have played an instrumental role within the organization.
FAT works at both the grassroots and policy level. FAT plays an instrumental role trying to influence and change political practices of the government that bar and limit the realization of fundamental human rights, specifically, labor rights. FAT strives to resist and address the instability that has resulted from recent structural and government reforms and to offer alternatives for addressing issues related to trade union freedom and rights. FAT has developed strong alliances with other civil society organizations, and has been involved in other local and national campaigns against gender based. FAT has also played a role in influencing efforts to reform federal labor laws, and has engaged in efforts to provide consultations and legal support to workers. FAT has also held training modules and radio shows (targeted at women) which have sought to empower women from different unions in the Valley of Mexico and to strengthen their advocacy role within their organizations. Trainings have also focused on coordinating joint solidarity strategies; building self-esteem and raising awareness about gender issues, sexual harassment and labor rights. More broadly, trainings have appealed to women workers so as to enable them to participate more fully in decision-making, both in the public and in the private spheres.
FAT also recently participated in the Women’s Roundtable in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where a range of different social groups came together to analyze social and labor conditions from a human rights and equality perspective. FAT offered legal and institutional support in cases of violations and the discussion also gave national and international attention to the problem of femicides in Ciudad Juarez. The roundtable also led to the implementation of the Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence; the categorization of femicide as a crime; the elimination of the “pardon” of domestic violence cases from the Criminal Code; and advocacy efforts in Congress regarding the problems in Ciudad Juarez which led to the current legislature opening up a discussion about the relationship between the federal government and Juarez. FAT has also worked to expose failure on the part of local authorities to comply with obligations to implement protective policies for women. In this content, FAT continues to remain engaged with relevant organizations, committees and councils, and has held radio programs and press conferences to promote gender equity and share information about legal tools that can be used to achieve a life without violence for women.