United Socialist Party of Venezuela Wins PDVSA Union Elections

Yesterday the United
Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers (FUTPV), which represents a majority of
PDVSA workers, held its first leadership body elections. The platform supported
by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Platform 7, won the
elections with 54.27% of the vote.

By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com

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The United Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers (archive)
The United Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers (archive)
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Mérida,
October 2nd 2009 (Venezuelanalysis.com) - Yesterday the United
Federation of Venezuelan Oil Workers (FUTPV), which represents a majority of
PDVSA workers, held its first leadership body elections. The platform supported
by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Platform 7, won the
elections with 54.27% of the vote.

Just
a few hours after voting closed, the electoral commission of FUTPV released the
results of its elections, which were held in 18 of Venezuela's 23 states. The
election was a first for the federation, which represents 185 individual unions
and was formed in April 2007 in collaboration with the management of Venezuela's
state oil company, PDVSA, and the Labour Ministry as part of an attempt to
unite the four main union federations in the industry.

The
elections have been delayed a number of times as various currents lodged
appeals disputing who is eligible to vote. The Labour Ministry appointed a
provisional leadership, which included Wills Rangel, now leader of Platform 7.

Other
key currents participating in the elections included Platform 1 headed up by
ultra-left United Revolutionary Autonomous Classist Current (C-CURA) and
Platform 9, largely made up of the provisional leadership, with supporters and
opponents of the government.

Platform
7, which is named the Socialist Workers Vanguard (VOS), received 15,009 votes,
or 54.27%. Platform 1 received 7,557 votes (27.32%), and Platform 9 received
2,698 votes (9.75%).

As
a result, the new executive committee will be made up of six members of
Platform 7, three from Platform 1 and one from Platform 9, including Will
Rangel as the president. In the auditing committee, two principle members are
from Platform 7, and one from Platform 1, and in the federation's disciplinary
tribunal, three of the principle members are from Platform 7 and two from
Platform 1.

36,692
petroleum industry workers were eligible to vote, and there was an abstention
rate of 21.7% in the elections. The National Electoral Council (CNE) managed
and monitored the electoral process, and told the press afterwards that it had
been smooth, with the only inconvenience being when a few booth witnesses did
not show up.

Rangel
called the results "a triumph of all the workers and of their only leader ...
which is [President Hugo] Chavez."

Chavez
himself said the results meant that "it's the working class taking on the role
of vanguard. I congratulate all the workers of PDVSA."

Servando
Carbone, a National Union of Workers (UNT) coordinator, said the elections were
a reflection of the strength of the revolutionary movement. Simon Castillo,
also from the UNT, said the results reflected the organisation and
participation of the union movement.

The
lead-up to the FUTPV elections has been marked by controversy. Energy Minister Rafael
Ramirez, who is also the head of PDVSA, said in July that the "revolution" had
to win the elections before he would discuss the union's collective contract,
which expired in January this year. Ramirez also accused some unionists of
being from the opposition, and there have been rallies, protests, and counter
protests, as well as faction against faction accusations.

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