Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico

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Overview


#4 Book on The New York Times Monthly Business Bestseller List
#9 Book on The New York Times Monthly Political Bestseller List
#9 Book on The New York Times Weekly Nonfiction Bestseller List
USA Today Bestseller

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 ...

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Collapse of Dignity: The Story of a Mining Tragedy and the Fight Against Greed and Corruption in Mexico

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Overview


#4 Book on The New York Times Monthly Business Bestseller List
#9 Book on The New York Times Monthly Political Bestseller List
#9 Book on The New York Times Weekly Nonfiction Bestseller List
USA Today Bestseller

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 work site 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gomez, a prominent Mexican union leader, proponent of workers' rights, and winner of the 2011 International Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award, offers up his side of a complicated, dramatic tale stretching back nearly a decade. In 2006, a mine explosion in northern Mexico trapped 65 people. Rescue operations were suspended after only five days, apparently due to corrupt officials wishing to bury evidence of unsafe working conditions. While not the origin of the conflict between mine owners, a hostile government, and the beleaguered Los Mineros union, it was the catalyst for years of legal battles and more, including a prolonged strike at other mines. With Gomez and his fellow union leaders persecuted, exiled, or arrested, it became a highly visible symbol of workers' rights and government corruption. Gomez's story is part autobiography, part manifesto, as he thoroughly examines the events contributing to the ongoing trouble. While understandably biased from his point of view, it's a damning account of how misused power can cost lives and wreak havoc. Open, honest, and eloquent, Gomez passionately calls for reform and a better world as he condemns the officials and businessmen who exploit the workers. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

“A damning account of how misused power can cost lives and wreak havoc. Open, honest, and eloquent, Gomez passionately calls for reform and a better world as he condemns the officials and businessmen who exploit the workers.”
Publishers Weekly

"Collapse of Dignity gives trade union leaders and activists in North America and indeed around the world a heads up into the brutal tactics and strategies employed by governments and multi-national corporations that seek to drive down wages, radically alter the conditions of work, diminish workers’ rights and crush trade union resistance."
Ken Georgetti, President, Canadian Labour Congress

Collapse of Dignity is an unblinking and unnerving look inside our world’s labor struggle. Gómez’s incredible account of the fight for justice in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity is a warning, a lesson, and—ultimately—an impassioned call for international change. Essential reading for any working person.”
Thom Hartmann, Author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“A riveting story about standing up to big corporations, Collapse of Dignity delivers a message for us all: We the People must force the global corporatocracy to serve us, the workers and consumers. The contrast between Chile and Mexico is a striking call to action.”
John Perkins, New York Times Bestselling Author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked

Collapse of Dignity is a powerful testimony to the attack by corrupt politicians and cynical businessmen to silence a union and its leader. Napoleón Gómez, leader of the mining and metalworkers’ union Los Mineros, gives a compelling account of the events that followed the industrial homicide… The global trade union movement continues to support this courageous fight for free and independent unionism in Mexico, and for a better life for all workers and their families. This is what we remain deeply committed to doing by mobilizing our forces all over the world.”
Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union

“Napoleón is a hero because every day he fights for the lives and welfare of the Mexican workers and their families.”
Richard Trumka President of AFL CIO

“Gómez writes with passion, intelligence and vision from his own extraordinary personal experience. His story of the brutal and deadly conditions of work in Mexico's mines and his sharp analysis of the global system that produces such inhumanity make this book essential for anyone who wants to understand how the global economy really works.”
Jeff Faux, Founder of the Economic Policy Institute and Author of The Servant Economy

“Injustice never stops until one person summons the courage to become a hero. Inhuman conditions never end until many join that hero and say ‘no more.’ This is the story of such a hero and those who answered his call.”
Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada

Collapse of Dignity is an extraordinary, personal and essential dispatch from the brutal frontlines of workers’ battle for rights in the face of corporate greed, government corruption and the appalling neglect of the very lives and safety of Mexico’s miners.”
Carne Ross, Author of The Leaderless Revolution

"An evocative and powerful personal account of the global labour movement through the eyes of one of its leading figures."
Noreena Hertz, author of The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy and The Debt Threat: How Debt Is Destroying the Developing World

“Written with passion and honesty, Napoleón Gómez's memoir reveals a deeply personal story about the struggle of the Mexican National Union of Mine Workers. Theirs has been an epic battle for the safety and wellbeing of miners and their families, for their dignity, and for justice against callous mining corporations and corrupt politicians. This drama, filled with tragedy and inspiring resilience, is a poignant allegory of globalization and power that should be read by union leaders and activists around the world.”
Daniel Katz, Dean of Labor Studies at the National Labor College

Collapse of Dignity is about one man’s quest to restore dignity in the mines of Mexico and in the minds of his fellow mineworkers. Napoleón Gómez's story captures the struggle of the human spirit and the fight for freedom in today’s global economy.”
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781939529220
  • Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/16/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 896,115
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author


Napoleón Gómez Urrutia’s struggle for union democracy and for the respect and dignity of workers is well known worldwide. He has served as general secretary of the National Mining and Metal Workers Union since his unanimous election in 2002, and was reelected unanimously for a new six-year term in 2008 in addition to being elected president of the union in 2012. An Oxford-educated economist, Gomez also graduated with honors from the Department of Economics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. For twelve years, he served as director of the Mexican Mint and is the only Mexican to serve as international president of the Mint Directors Conference, a position he held for two years.

Gomez was the 2011 recipient of the AFL-CIO’s prestigious International Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award, and in the same year, he was nominated for the Edelstam Prize and the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights. He is also a member of the executive committee of IndustriALL Global Union, the world’s most powerful union organization. He works closely with leaders of unions around the world, including the United Steelworkers Union of North America.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2013

    ) I received the book for a review i have not heard of the book


    ) I received the book for a review i have not heard of the book or the things that went on in the book . I am from family of miner who had grand father and uncles and cousin who were in the mine of Wva. This book is great book to read and then it was about the mine in Mexico and how they work and survive with all that is going around them . The mine were corrupt and then come in the union and then they hope for the best and then they get some changes The crooks in the book are upper class and they think the mine are safe but when the accident happen they blame other but the one who stayed there was fired he was the general seccatary. I am going to help them and then they want more and need help but is the bad guys going to leave i doubt it you have corruption and they want more money for them self and then not hlep i in joyed the book a lot and then the cover is great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great book. Napoleon Gomez writes in part biography an

    This is a great book. Napoleon Gomez writes in part biography and in part manifesto about the corruption in mining. It provides an interesting take on what greed can do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    It is a great story about a hero that fights every single day fo

    It is a great story about a hero that fights every single day for human rights, it is a story about passion and love for the workers, 
    It will take you to discover the real world we live in and how can power and greed can make people commit horrible crimes!! 



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    A real live story of a man that is currently fighting for better

    A real live story of a man that is currently fighting for better wages for human beings everywhere in the world.

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