Napoleon Gomez

The Book

In the early morning hours of February 19, 2006, a sudden blast shook a coal mine in northern Mexico, trapping sixty-five workers in a subterranean tunnel. Napoleón Gómez, head of the fiercely independent union that represented the workers, was appalled by what he found at the scene: labor department inspectors and the company operating the mine had ignored the egregiously hazardous state of the worksite and were failing miserably at a rescue effort. Rather than focusing on saving lives, they were busy downplaying the company’s role in the collapse and selling false hope to the families camped out at the mouth of the mine. Less than a week after the explosion, Mexico’s labor secretary called off the rescue, leaving the lost men to their fates.

The senseless tragedy—stemming directly from an insatiable hunger for profits—set off a massive confrontation between the National Miners’ Union and the transnational corporations that wield great power in the country’s government. Over seven tumultuous years, Gómez waged a battle against Mexico’s corrupt politicians and voraciously greedy businessmen, insisting that the mine blast was an “industrial homicide” and that those responsible must be held accountable for it.

Told with candor and passion, Collapse of Dignity is Gómez’s account of the union’s fight, mounted in the face of traitors, armed aggression, death threats, and a political alliance extending all the way up to the presidential residence at Los Pinos. As he fends off absurdly complex legal charges, organizes the resistance from exile in Canada, and uncovers an anti-union conspiracy stretching back to years before the explosion, he only becomes more committed to fighting for the rights of Los Mineros—and by extension the workers of every country.

Gómez’s story is one of outrage, but also one of hope. Though Collapse of Dignity lays bare sickening injustice and inexcusable aggression against the Mexican working class, it is at its core a fervent call for a global workers’ movement that will represent the fundamental rights of every person who works for a living.

 Napoleón Gómez Urrutia has served as general secretary of the National Mining and Metal Workers Union since his unanimous election in 2002, and was reelected to a new six-year term in 2008. An Oxford-educated economist, Gomez was the 2011 recipient of the AFL-CIO’s prestigious International Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award. He is also a member of the executive committee of IndustriALL Global Union, the world’s most powerful union organization, and works closely with leaders of unions around the world, including the United Steelworkers Union of North America.

Do you like this page?

Showing 1 reaction


commented 2014-01-25 09:51:57 -0800 · Flag
El Colapso de la Dignidad: La historia de una tragedia de Minería y la Lucha contra la avaricia y la corrupción en México
“Napoleón es un héroe, porque todos los días lucha por la vida y el bienestar de los trabajadores mineros mexicanos y sus familias, su lucha es global, de resistencia frente a las grandes corporaciones, y pone de relieve la importancia de continuar la lucha contra la codicia y la corrupción en el lugar de trabajo. “El Colapso de la Dignidad” es un testimonio poderoso del ataque por parte los políticos corruptos y empresarios cínicos para silenciar a un sindicato y su líder, Napoleón se convirtió en el blanco de una feroz campaña antisindical en respuesta a sus fuertes y efusivas demandas de los derechos de los trabajadores, de salarios decentes, prestaciones contractuales y condiciones de trabajo seguras, una historia de heroicos trabajadores, hombres y mujeres, que se negaron a renunciar a la lucha por la dignidad y la justicia social. El movimiento sindical internacional sigue apoyando esta valiente lucha por un sindicalismo libre e independiente en México, y por una vida mejor para todos los trabajadores y sus familias en todo el mundo.
La injusticia no se detiene hasta que una persona reúne el coraje de convertirse en héroe. Las condiciones inhumanas nunca terminaran hasta que muchos se unan a este héroe y digan ‘no más´. Esta es la historia de este héroe y los que respondieron a su llamada.
Napoleón y su familia son una verdadera inspiración para todos los mineros del mundo.
Para los sindicalistas en México, este libro no es solo una llamada de atención, sino una historia inspirada del coraje de un sindicato, el liderazgo de Napoleón Gómez Urrutia, y la solidaridad ante las abrumadoras adversidades.