Monday, November 23, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers Of Juarez Find Their Voice

Low pay, abusive conditions, no union representation—employees are fed up and fighting back.

By David Bacon, The Nation
November 20, 2015

Ciudad Juárez—After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez have found their voice. The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories. At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5,000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or plantons, demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.

“We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment, and low wages that we woke up,” explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn’s Scientific Atlanta facility. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, and we’re facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money. But what’s clear is that we are going to continue. We’re not going to stop.”

About 255,000 people work directly in Juarez' 330 maquiladoras, about 13% of the total nationally, making Juarez one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing on the U.S./Mexico border. Almost all the plants are foreign-owned. Eight of Juarez' 17 largest factories belong to U.S. corporations, three to Taiwanese owners, two to Europeans, and two to Mexicans. Together, they employ over 69,000 - over a quarter of the city's total.[...]

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