Statement | Global Worker Rights

Letter Concerning Actions to Undermine Democratic Union Structures by the Salvadoran Government

The Honorable Rolando Castro
Minister of Labor and Social Security
San Salvador. El Salvador

Dear Minister Castro:

On behalf of the twelve and a half million working women and men of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), I write to express our grave concern over actions by the Salvadoran government to undermine democratic union structures and authentic worker voice and representation. The illegal removal of the legitimately elected leadership of the STISSS (Union of Workers of the Salvadoran Social Security Institute), the usurpation of STISSS by unrepresentative and unduly-elected individuals in violation of its bylaws, and the recognition of this illegitimate executive board by the Labor Ministry are an affront to freedom of association, union democracy, and respect for the rule of law.

In December 2018. the Salvadoran Social Security Institute Workers’ Union (STISSS) elected its executive board during its congress. In April 2019. a small group of dissident members (far fewer than the 25% required to call an extraordinary assembly) called an extraordinary assembly, dissolved the executive board and chose a new executive board, all in violation of the union’s statutes and due process. The Labor Ministry accepted the registration of this new, illegal executive board and notified the legitimate leaders on September 4. 2019. In response, STISSS issued a denunciation, stating that the registration represents a violation of statutes and due process.

The AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with STISSS and its legitimate, elected leaders in their demand that you overturn this illegal and illegitimate administrative order; recognize and reinstate the democratically elected leadership; and ensure a resolution to the violations of the Salvadoran labor code, the Salvadoran Constitution and its international obligations under International Labor Organization conventions.


Cathy Feingold
International Director, AFL-CIO