One of the most important Venezuelan trade unions overwhelmingly voted in favor of the revolutionary presidency of Edison Alvarado this week, as the Caracas Metro Workers Union (Sitrameca) elected its leadership. President Maduro congratulated Alvarado by receiving him and his team after the victory.
Alvarado has 14 years of experience in the Metro, and was re-elected by 76.3% of the votes, achieving 12 of the 13 positions and defeating the right wing tendencies within the labor movement.
In his previous term as president of the union, he has successfully overseen a new collective contract for the 8,100 workers, as well as impressive expansion and modernizing of the network.
Alvarado made the connection between his victory and that of the national executive, in favor of socialism: “now more so than ever there is political consciousness in the workers of the Metro”, claimed the re-elected labor leader.
“The government has done everything possible to improve the conditions and adapt the Metro to the needs of the people”, he explained, mentioning the new lines included into the Metro, such as the cable cars of San Agustin and Mariche, the Cable-Train of Petare, the new Line 5 of the Metro, the connection of the Caracas and Los Teques Metro networks, the Bus Caracas network, and the Caracas Metro-Bus lines.
Making reference to the “almost 99% subsidiary”, by the government in fares, Alvarado explained that “we are an inclusive company”. The Metro has seen usage rocket from 7,000 users in 1998 to more than 2 million today.
The union will, under the leadership of Alvarado, continue “in defense of the great banners which our President Chavez left us”. Alongside the oil workers union, it is widely recognized as one of the most organized, committed, and militantly revolutionary unions in the country.
President Maduro, speaking with Alvarado in Miraflores Palace, reinforced the working class nature of government, so evidenced by his own class roots as a bus driver.
“We have never seen trade union freedom like there is today in Venezuela”, stated the President. “It is impossible to construct socialism without a conscious and constructive working class”.
“I believe in the working class as the great transforming force of history, it is the great class which should assume its responsibility”, he went on to declare.
As an ex-metro workers’ union leader himself, Maduro offered some words of advice to Alvarado. Sitrameca should “struggle for the truth, for its redemption. A socialist trade union doesn’t put particular interests above those of the collective,” he offered.