Long-time Hesperian partner, el Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (Border Committee of Women Workers), a grassroots organization in Mexico that supports union democracy and workers rights, has redesigned their very useful website CFOmaquiladoras.org. Their unique website contains information straight from the maquiladora (factory) workers themselves, many of whom take great risks to report what goes on inside their factories.
With support from the CFO, thousands of maquiladora workers have won significant victories, including: substantial wage hikes; improvements in working conditions; election of rank-and-file activists to local union executive committees; severance packages for laid-off workers that meet the requirements of Mexico ‘s labor code; and restoration of benefits that have been withdrawn by maquiladora firms.
Despite these victories, maquiladora workers are still facing many challenges to their human and labor rights. This excerpt from a recent CFO letter highlights some current concerns:
In Mexico, 2006 was a year of great political turbulence….[W]e have seen again and again that Mexico’s civil society and our country’s poorest communities are no longer willing to accept the status quo. Many struggles are continuing across Mexico to defend the vote and defend democracy in our country, following the stolen elections of this past July. We are also very worried by the violent occurrences in the state of Oaxaca, one of the poorest areas of our country. The demands raised by Oaxaca’s teachers and communities are thoroughly legitimate. Despite the many hardships they face, the people of Oaxaca are leading the way for all of us by standing up for their dignity. We can only hope for a speedy return of calm—and for our government to understand that the people of Mexico are no longer willing to accept this kind of injustice.
CFO was one of our earliest partners and most steadfast collaborators on Hesperian’s book-in-progress, A Factory Worker’s Guide to Organizing for Safety and Health, CFO has reviewed drafts and contributed stories to the book. Several chapters of ‘Work dangers and solutions’ are currently available for free download on Hesperian’s website.