1989 / Union Conflict at the Chilean-French Institute

In October 1989, the workers of the Chilean-French Institute, located on Calle Merced in Santiago, began a series of actions in response to the rejection of their demands––made within the framework of a collective negotiation––to improve labor conditions. The Institute’s administration argued that there was no agreement between Chilean and French laws on the subject. The workers threatened to go on strike, which would have forced the Institute to close until March of the following year. The journalist and cultural critic Rita Ferrer worked as  Communicators Coordinator for the Institute, and also lead the union that organized the workers at the cultural center. One of the collective strategies was to seek support from a wide range of unions active during that time (AFI, Instituto Norteamericano de Cultura, Radio Cooperativa), as well as from other political and cultural agents, through letters that were directed to Daniel Lequetier, the French ambassador to Chile, and to Chistie Riviera, the Institute’s director. Others showed their support through public statements, including artists and thinkers like the Yeguas del Apocalipsis, CADA, and Nelly Richard, as well as the politician Patricio Aylwin.