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Sat Dec 21, 2013, 09:37 AM

Thanks to NAFTA, Conditions for Mexican Factory Workers Like Rosa Moreno Are Getting Worse

Texas Observer / By Melissa del Bosque

The difficult and dangerous working conditions that Rosa and at least 1.3 million other Mexican workers endure were supposed to get better. They didn't.



Photo Credit: Alan Pogue

December 11, 2013 |

.... On this night, Feb. 19, 2011, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, a premonition that perhaps she shouldn’t go. But she needed the money. It was the final shift in her six-day workweek, and if she missed a day, the factory would dock her 300 pesos. She couldn’t afford to lose that kind of money. Her family already struggled to survive on the 1,300 pesos (about $100) a week she earned. Unable to shake the bad feeling, she’d already missed her bus, and now she’d have to pay for a taxi. But the thought of losing 300 pesos was worse. She had to go. Rosa kissed her six children goodnight and set out across town.

In the Mexican border city of Reynosa, the hundreds of maquiladoras that produce everything from car parts to flat-screen televisions run day and night—365 days a year—to feed global demand. Rosa worked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. at a factory called HD Electronics in a sprawling maquiladora park near the international bridge that links Reynosa, an industrial city of 600,000, to Pharr, Texas. Like the 90,000 or more workers in Reynosa, the 38-year-old Rosa depended on these factories for her livelihood. In the 11 years since she moved to the city, she had welded circuitry for Asian and European cell phone companies, assembled tubing for medical IV units to be shipped over the border to the United States, and worked on a production line assembling air conditioners for General Motors.

This was her second month at HD Electronics, a South Korean firm that had moved to Reynosa in 2006 to produce the metal backing for flat-screen televisions made by another South Korean firm, LG Electronics—a $49 billion corporation. LG also has a plant in Reynosa and could scarcely keep up with the North American demand for its plasma and LCD televisions.

At HD Electronics, Rosa operated a 200-ton hydraulic stamping press. Every night, six days a week, she fed the massive machine thin aluminum sheets. The machine ran all day, every day. Each time the press closed it sounded like a giant hammer striking metal: thwack, thwack, thwack. The metal sheets emerged pierced and molded into shape for each model and size of television. At the factory, 20 women, including Rosa, worked the presses to make the pieces for the smaller televisions. Nearby were 10 larger presses, each of which took two men to operate, to make backings for the giant-screen models.


Full Article: http://www.alternet.org/labor/after-20-years-nafta-thanks-nafta-what-happened-mexican-factory-workers-rosa-moreno?akid=11305.44541.10ylde&rd=1&src=newsletter939436&t=21

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Reply Thanks to NAFTA, Conditions for Mexican Factory Workers Like Rosa Moreno Are Getting Worse (Original post)
polly7 Dec 2013 OP
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blkmusclmachine Dec 2013 #1

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Sat Dec 21, 2013, 10:17 PM

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