Info on Maquilas

Tijuana Maquiladora Tour: April 5


Tijuana Maquiladora Tour
Come to learn about Tijuana communities and workers'
conditions and struggles!

Saturday, April 5, 2014
9 am to 3 pm
 

Important Notice:

·         Citizens returning from Mexico should present an U.S. passport. (Otherwise, they need an official ID, birth certificate, and waiting in line when returning to the U.S. for a period of time to be decided by the border gate officer.) More information: the U.S. State Dept. web site: US Citizens - Documents needed for entry into the U.S..
·         All tour participants must read the US travel alert to Mexico and sign the tour waiver. Please click here to get the Tour waiver.  

 Tour Schedule (There may be slight variations from tour to tour.)
·      9:00 am sharp- San Ysidro. Additional information about the meeting place will be provided.
·      9:15 am- The crosses at the border: More than 7,000 immigrants have died trying to cross the border since 1994, when NAFTA was imposed.
·      9:30 am- Otay Industrial Park, Sanyo and other maquiladoras: workers’ labor conditions, labor rights and struggles 

NOTE: We will visit the Tijuana industrial area but won’t enter any factory.
·      11:15 am- Metales y Derivados: maquiladoras, distorted urban development and wild industrialization in Tijuana
·      12:00 pm- Foxconn: the largest maquiladora in both Tijuana and the world
·      12:45 pm- Lunch
·      1:15 pm:- Group dialogue about the experience; time for questions and comments
·      2:00 pm- Working women in Tijuana are organizing artisan cooperatives and promoting an alternative economy. They will bring their handcrafts to the tour. To learn in advance about these cooperatives, please go to: Cooperativa Ollin Calli  
·      3:00 pm- Return to the bus station


Registration

·      $30 regular, $20 students, $ 50 solidarity
·      Registration covers the bus, lunch, and a donation to the workers’ organizations.
·      For tour registration go here: sdmaquila.org

Sponsored by Colectivo Ollin Calli Tijuana, San Diego Maquiladora Workers' Solidarity Network and the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras

Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics


This short documentary reveals the hazards of the electronics industry in China profiling workers poisoned by chemicals and their struggle for compensation.

Thousands of young people in China enter export factories to make the West's favorite electronic gadgets, only to find they have contracted occupational diseases or worse, leukemia, by the age of 25.


Published on Mar 4, 2014

Cooperativa Calli Ollin



Cooperativa Calli Ollin, or Cooperative in Movement (in Nahuatl Aztec language) favors fair trade against the so-called "free" trade and maquiladora exploitation. The Coop Calli Ollin promotes artisan creativity producing:

  • Embroidery and textile designs and honoring indigenous tradition
  • Jewelry based on motifs and materials like wood, seeds and crystals that recognize and honor our Mother Earth
  • Art that promotes the use of natural materials and recycling culture
  • Mexican food that recognizes the culinary tradition of different regions of Mexico



Maquiladoras in facts

Maquiladoras
  • National: 6,300 maquiladoras hiring 2.3 million people, 88% working in production lines, about 25% hired by an outsourcing. (Source: June 2013 Inegi: IMMEX- Programa Industria Manufacturera, Maquiladora y de Servicios de Exportación.)
  • Tijuana: 565 maquiladoras, 171,950 workers, 94% technicians and production line workers. (Source: Inegi, Sept 2013-Includes Rosarito)
  • Tijuana100 maquiladoras hired 94,000 workers; 400 hired 45,000 workers. (Source: Directorio Maquiladoras, 2011)
  • Origin: Workers hired in Tijuana maquiladoras (about)
    • USA 75,000
    • Korea 12,500
    • Japan: 16,000
    • Europe: 9,300
    • Mexico: 16,000
    • Taiwan: 6,000 
    • (Source: Directorio Maquiladoras, 2011)

Tijuana population and working force: 
  • Population: 1,650,351, including Municipio de Rosarito (Source: INEGI 2011)
  • Working force
    • Total: 658,997 workers
    • Primary, agriculture, etc: 3,344 (0.5%)
    • Secondary, manufacture, construction, energy, etc: 189,121 (28.7%)
    • Tertiary (trade, government, etc): 466,532 (70.7%)
    • (Investibaja, includes Rosar2000) 
    • Tijuana residents working in San Diego: 50,000 (estimation)


Richard D. Vogel Monthly Review



Border Environmental Justice: Arroyo Alamar

Environmental Health Coalition, Colectivo Ollín Calli, and members of the Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental, Jóvenes Pro Justicia Ambiental, residents of the Colonia Chilpancingo and neighborhoods adjacent to the Arroyo Alamar and their supporters announced the submission of a petition to procure an injunction against the Arroyo Alamar channelization project that the National Water Commission is developing. More info: Arroyo Alamar.


This is the connection with maquilas: the creek will be destroyed to create a highway linking the maquiladora industrial parks in Tijuana to the maquiladora warehouses in San Diego (Otay). While the highway is perhaps needed, the Alamar creek and its environment does not have to be destroyed to build a new road, especially in a zone where water is a very limited resource.

Maquilapolis in You Tube

Extraordinary documentary where maquiladora workers and activists discuss the history of the maquiladora industry in Tijuana, the relationship with NAFTA, the labor and living conditions, the complicity of the government with the maquiladora exploitation, the major obstacles for organizing in the production lines, and more.



What is a maquiladora?



What is a maquiladora?

  • Origins- To open a maquiladora, foreign (or Mexican) companies register in the Maquiladora Program to produce or ensemble parts for exportation. The Maquiladora Industry was born in 1964 and grew exponentially after Neoliberalism was imposed on Mexico in 1983. NAFTA (1994) was also a huge impulse for maquiladoras. Maquiladoras were originally limited to the US Mexico Border Area. Today, maquiladoras still produce or ensemble parts, but also elaborate complete products for exportation or national market and are allowed to install in most areas of Mexico.
  • Sustainable development? The contribution of maquilas to the national development is problematic. Maquiladoras did not pay importation custom fees and just minimal exportation custom fees. Today, the only difference with no maquiladora manufacture is that maquilas pay lower taxes, lower salaries, and the workers have less union experiences and organization. Maquilas hardly integrate with the Mexican economy. They buy only about 28% of their production inputs; the 72% is imported; in Tijuana this is worse. El Economista, 8 enero 2014

2012: Deja la crisis 125 maquilas menos en BC -Dr. Alejandro Díaz Bautista-

Deja la crisis 125 maquilas menos en BC -Dr. Alejandro Díaz Bautista-

Celia García
Alejandro Díaz Bautista, economista y catedrático del Colegio de la Frontera Norte (Colef) precisó que en Baja California, el número de plantas activas en agosto de 2012 se ubicaba en 913, es decir, 125 menos de las mil 38 registradas en diciembre de 2007.
Para continuar leyendo la nota haga clic aquí
Publicado por frontera.info - BCN 
Martes 27 de noviembre de 2012
En: El Colef en los medios, En línea

Ya no habrá más empleos en sector maquila, advierten investigadores en BC

Ya no habrá más empleos en sector maquila, advierten investigadores en BC

La industria maquiladora en la franja fronteriza del Norte de México no crece desde el año 2000, revelaron investigadores de El Colef, tanto de Tijuana, como de Matamoros.
Alfredo Hualde Alfaro, Secretario General Académico de El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, especializado en la materia, explicó que en Baja California se han comenzado a buscar otras alternativas que permitan dar trabajo a los obreros: “Ya no tenemos el crecimiento que hubo en los años noventa, desde la época del 2000 no ha habido prácticamente crecimiento de los empleos, y esto es probable que continúe de esta manera, puesto que la economía de Estados Unidos no está creciendo al ritmo que crecía anteriormente, y concretamente la economía de California, tampoco”.
Hacer clic en la imagen para continuar leyendo la nota

Ya no habrá más empleos en sector maquila, advierten investigadores en BC
Publicado por www.uniradioinforma.com
Viernes 25 de noviembre de 2011
En: El Colef en los medios, En línea, Sala de Prensa del Colef

Tijuana Maquiladora Tour


Tijuana Maquiladora Tour
Come to learn about Tijuana communities and workers'
conditions and struggles!

Saturday, July  27, 9 am to 3 pm
 

Important Notice:

·         Citizens returning from Mexico should present an U.S. passport. (Otherwise, they need an official ID, birth certificate, and waiting in line when returning to the U.S. for a period of time to be decided by the border gate officer.) More information: the U.S. State Dept. web site: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5815.html.

·         All tour participants must read the US travel alert to Mexico and sign the tour waiver. Please read the Tour waiver.
 

Schedule (There may be slight variations from tour to tour.)

·      9:00 am sharp- San Ysidro. Additional information about the meeting place will be provided.

·      9:15 am- The crosses at the border: More than 7,000 immigrants have died trying to cross the border since 1994, when NAFTA was imposed.

·      9:30 am- Otay Industrial Park, Sanyo and other maquiladoras: workers’ labor conditions, labor rights and struggles

NOTE
: We will visit the Tijuana industrial area but won’t enter any factory.

·      11:15 am- Rio Alamar, or how maquiladoras, distorted urban development and wild industrialization define Tijuana

·      12:00 pm- Foxconn: the largest maquiladora in both Tijuana and the world

·      12:45 pm- Lunch

·      1:15 pm:- Group dialogue about the experience; time for questions and comments

·      2:00 pm- Working women in Tijuana are organizing artisan cooperatives and promoting an alternative economy. They will bring their handcrafts to the tour. To learn in advance
about these cooperatives, please go to: ollincallicm.blogspot.com  

·      3:00 pm- Return to the bus station
 

Donations
 
·      $30 regular, $20 students, $ 50 solidarity

·      Donations cover the bus, lunch, and a donation to the workers’ organizations.

·      For tour registration go here: sdmaquila.org

 
Sponsored by Colectivo Ollin Calli Tijuana, San Diego Maquiladora Workers' Solidarity Network
and Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras

Tijuana Maquiladora Tour: July 27, 2013


Tijuana Maquiladora Tour
Come to learn about Tijuana communities and workers'
conditions and struggles!

Saturday, July  27, 9 am to 3 pm
 

Important Notice:

·         Citizens returning from Mexico should present an U.S. passport. (Otherwise, they need an official ID, birth certificate, and waiting in line when returning to the U.S. for a period of time to be decided by the border gate officer.) More information: the U.S. State Dept. web site: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5815.html.

·         All tour participants must read the US travel alert to Mexico and sign the tour waiver. Please read the Tour waiver.
 

Schedule (There may be slight variations from tour to tour.)

·      9:00 am sharp- San Ysidro. Additional information about the meeting place will be provided.

·      9:15 am- The crosses at the border: More than 7,000 immigrants have died trying to cross the border since 1994, when NAFTA was imposed.

·      9:30 am- Otay Industrial Park, Sanyo and other maquiladoras: workers’ labor conditions, labor rights and struggles

NOTE
: We will visit the Tijuana industrial area but won’t enter any factory.

·      11:15 am- Rio Alamar, or how maquiladoras, distorted urban development and wild industrialization define Tijuana

·      12:00 pm- Foxconn: the largest maquiladora in both Tijuana and the world

·      12:45 pm- Lunch

·      1:15 pm:- Group dialogue about the experience; time for questions and comments

·      2:00 pm- Working women in Tijuana are organizing artisan cooperatives and promoting an alternative economy. They will bring their handcrafts to the tour. To learn in advance
about these cooperatives, please go to: ollincallicm.blogspot.com  

·      3:00 pm- Return to the bus station
 

Donations
 
·      $30 regular, $20 students, $ 50 solidarity

·      Donations cover the bus, lunch, and a donation to the workers’ organizations.

·      For tour registration go here: sdmaquila.org

 
Sponsored by Colectivo Ollin Calli Tijuana, San Diego Maquiladora Workers' Solidarity Network
and Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras

OAXACAN TEACHERS CHALLENGE THE TEST


By David Bacon
California Federation of Teachers website
http://cft.org/key-issues/quality-education/mexican-educators-face-reform.html
May 5, 2013

Recently an American Federation of Teachers resolution declared that U.S. public schools are held hostage to a "testing fixation rooted in the No Child Left Behind Act," and condemned its "extreme misuse as a result of ideologically and politically driven education policy."  AFT President Randi Weingarten proposed instead that "public education should be obsessed with high-quality teaching and learning, not high-stakes testing."   In Seattle teachers at Garfield High have refused to give them.

Many Mexican teachers would find these sentiments familiar.  The testing regime in Mexico is as entrenched as it is in the United States, and its political use is very similar - undermining the rights of teachers, and attacking unions that oppose it.   In Michoacan, in central Mexico, sixteen teachers went to jail because they also refused to administer standardized tests.  But the teachers' union in the southern state of Oaxaca, Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE)., has not only refused to implement standardized tests - it has proposed its own reform of the education system, one designed by teachers themselves.

Tranquilino Lavarriega Cruz, coordinator of the union's Center for the Study of Educational Development, has taught for 11 years in primary schools in poor communities.  Today he works full time coordinating the Program for the Transformation of Education in Oaxaca (PTEO).  "The PTEO is a product of the vision of all the teachers in Oaxaca," he explains.  "It covers the infrastructure of schools, conditions of the students, evaluation, teachers' training, and compensation.  The program is more than a written document.  It seeks to transform people's lives."

Nationalist governments after the Revolution of 1910-20 started Mexico's public education system.  Today children start preschool at three, and move to a six-year primary school at 6.  At twelve, they start secondary school, which ends when they're fifteen.  These twelve years are mandatory.  The Department of Public Education administers the national school system, while each state also has its own department.  All Mexican teachers belong to the SNTE, the largest union in Latin America, and each state has its own section.

The national union's leaders were loyal supporters of Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for over 70 years, but teachers' movements in many states fought to change what many viewed as a repressive bureaucracy.  Today "this internal movement fights for the democratization of the union and for educational reform," according to Manuel Perez Rocha, former president of the Autonomous University of Mexico City and one of the country's most respected educators.

Over the last two decades, however, corporate influence has grown over Mexico's educational system.  "They started creating mechanisms for controlling the ideology of both teachers and students," Lavarriega says, "trying to certify education in the same way they'd certify a product - to sell it."

Perez Rocha sees parallels with the U.S.  "The Mexican right always copies the United State's right," he laughs.  "The politics of merit pay and the correlation with standardized exam results is identical between the two countries.  The right wants to convert education into a commodity and students into merchandise -- 'Let's fill their heads with information and put them to work.'"  Nevertheless, he notes, there are important differences, because the national union in Mexico is an entrenched part of the power structure.

In 2008 the recently-removed leader of the teachers union, Esther Elba Gordillo Morales, signed an agreement with then Mexican President Felipe Calderon called the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE).   Just weeks after taking office, Mexico's new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, ordered her arrest on corruption charges, shortly after the Mexican Congress gave its final approval to an education reform program based on ACE that is hated by most of the country's teachers.  Gordillo may prove to be guilty of the embezzlement charges leveled against her. But what placed her in the cross-hairs of Mexico's corporate elite was more likely her inability to keep teachers under control as protests against testing and U.S.-style education reform spread across the country.

The ACE is based on a national standardized test for students called ENLACE.  Pedro Javier Torres Hernandez, a biology teacher since 1989, has been working for twelve years on the union's alternative reform plan, most recently on its proposal regarding evaluations.  He criticizes the ACE and the ENLACE test because "they don't take context into account.  A school in the city isn't the same as one in a remote community.  Sixteen languages are spoken in Oaxaca, and in Mexico there are great differences between communities.  Some schools function very well because they have resources while others don't.  That shouldn't justify bad conditions, but to think that teachers are the only ones responsible is wrong."

The impact of the testing regime on curriculum is similar to that in many U.S. schools.  Humanities, art and philosophy have all but disappeared from the curriculum, Perez Rocha charges. History and literature are drastically reduced and placed in other programs.

"Under the ACE," Torres says, "if students at a school don't achieve good test results,  the Secretary of Public Education declares their teachers incompetent, and they're removed.  They have to go to a private school and pay to take courses, and later take tests.   If they don't score well, they're fired."  The ACE also incorporates a previous reward system, called Teaching Careers, where teachers accumulate points based on their own test results, and can qualify for salary increases.  "However those who have been given awards are not necessarily the best teachers, and it divides teachers against each other," he believes.

So teachers in Oaxaca refused to implement the ENLACE test.  There is resistance in other states as well.  Sixteen teachers were arrested in Michoacan for refusing. "But Oaxaca is the stone in the shoe," Lavarriega says.

Section 22's alternative to the ACE proposes programs for infrastructure, student needs and financial incentives, and systems for evaluating and training teachers.  For Lavarriega, "Education must be diverse because Oaxaca is an extremely diverse state.  Schools in the heart of the city should be equal to those in marginalized communities. Communities should be able to generate their own educational process, and teachers should be part of it."

To critics who claim this sounds like deemphasizing education standards, he responds, "We're not saying that all knowledge is contextual.  A five is a five, no matter what part of the world you're living in.  There are universal elements of the curriculum that we shouldn't modify.  But many of us look at the textbook almost like God, not just in Oaxaca but everywhere in the world.  We believe we can't function without one.  Isn't reality around us also a great opportunity to develop content?"

In indigenous communities Torres says "you hear parents saying they want more instruction in their own language, as well as better instruction in the sciences.  What the PTEO tries to do is to harmonize things.  The fundamental linchpin of this plan is forming groups or collectives.  You could, for instance, set up a collective in a school, or one for an entire community in which there are various schools.  These collectives bring together teachers, students, and their families, and they work on educational projects."

The PTEO's main difference with the ACE is its approach to evaluation.  Instead of a standardized test, "evaluation should be a process," Lavarriega asserts, "a means, not an end. ENLACE simply gives the test, and that's it.  Evaluation should be a process of dialogue, should be global and holistic, and should evaluate everything.  It should be multidisciplinary, where teachers to work together to evaluate a student."

In place of the test, the PTEO proposes that teachers and students keep diaries, and maintain portfolios of work.  "While we don't discard totally conventional tests, we should also have interviews and surveys," Torres says.  "Teachers and families should sit down together and analyze what they find in the diaries and portfolios.  Teachers of biology, for instance, can ask each other, how did you explain a certain idea?  How well did it work?"

Proponents of standardized exams allege that teachers and schools can't be relied on to impartially evaluate themselves.  "We don't reject external evaluation," Torres continues, "so that someone outside can understand what we're doing.  But we need to combine external and internal evaluations to make decisions and obtain information, not just to compare schools or students.  What's important isn't just the achievement of the student but the process of learning."

One of the most hotly debated questions in Mexico involves how teachers themselves are trained, and in particular the role of the "normales" -- the teacher training schools.  These schools have been hotbeds of activism, where students have challenged the government and educational authorities.  Just a year ago police killed three students from the Ayotzinga Normal School in Guerrero, after a student march left the campus and blocked a public highway.

The normal schools have also been a way for the children of poor farming families to get better jobs as teachers.  Under neoliberal economic reforms this role has eroded, however and  Oaxaca is the only state left where students are still guaranteed jobs when they graduate.

Leftwing politics and class demographics make them a target for conservative reformers.  In June 2011 SNTE President Gordillo joined Claudio X. Gonzalez, a wealthy rightwing businessman who heads Mexicanos Primero, the country's corporate education reform lobby, to condemn them.  Gonzalez demanded that the schools be replaced with private ones, calling the normales "mediocre, and a mess of politics and complainers." Gordillo said they were graduating "monsters" instead of "ducklings."

The PTEO envisions "a training program that sees a teacher as an agent of social change," Lavarriega counters, "someone who has roots in a community, is interested in all the problems of the children, is familiar with the culture of the people, who can promote education projects with parents.  In other words, a teacher the ruling class doesn't want."

In the PTEO vision, teacher training should develop critical thinking and creativity, rather than dependence on rigid curriculum and a textbook.  "But it won't happen just because we give a workshop or some five-day course," he cautions.  "We ourselves are too much the product of the training we want to change.  Nevertheless, if we start a gradual process, I think that in several years we can create new teachers."

Those new teachers will join a workforce with a reputation for stopping work every spring to fight with the government over salaries.  Ninety percent earn between 3000 and 3500 pesos ($240-280) every two weeks.  Many interns make as little as 1500 pesos, on six-month contracts with no Social Security benefits.  "In a marginalized community," Lavarriega says, "teachers can spend 10 to 15% of their salaries on supplies for the students -- crayons, markers, binders."

However the PTEO would actually end the individual bonuses given under the Teaching Career system.  In its place it proposes financial rewards for schools and collectives that develop effective educational projects.  This would encourage collectivity, the union believes, and ties with the community.

More than 26,000 of Mexico's 223,144 basic education campuses have no water and more than 100,000 no connection to sewers.  Four-fifths of the furniture doesn't comply with safety standards.  The PTEO proposes that teacher collectives, and groups of parents and community authorities, design buildings appropriate to the local environment, using resources that come from the federal government.  But the PTEO and the state of Oaxaca don't control those resources.  "In Oaxaca alone there's a documented budgetary need for 16 billion pesos, and each year they only appropriate 180 million," Lavarriega charges.

The existence of a state program like the PTEO that differs from the federal ACE is a product of Oaxaca's intense political turmoil.  Teachers there were bitter enemies of the PRI governors who ruled the state for 70 years, and a teachers' strike became a virtual insurrection in 2006.  But in 2010 Section 22 joined with other independent political forces and defeated the PRI, electing Gabino Cue governor.  That opened the door to the union's reform proposals.

"Because the money comes from the federal Department of Public Education, we need their agreement to implement the PTEO," Lavarriega explains.  "The state helped form a joint committee of the Institute of Public Education (Oaxaca's state education department) and Section 22.  We agreed on our proposal, and Governor Cue and [then] union president Chepi signed it.  The next step is to present it to the federal Department of Public Education and the national union.  There has been a change with this new government in Oaxaca.  There's greater flexibility, and more willingness to work together.  We still lack a lot, but the door is opening."

Section 22 set up the first work groups to design alternatives to the federal reforms in 2008.  It organized assemblies and distributed a booklet at the start of every school year describing the developing proposals.  When it established the first school collectives, it included the families of students.  Finally last May and June the first parts of the PTEO were implemented in 280 pilot schools.  Each was responsible for setting up a collective, analyzing the needs of students and the community, and developing an educational project.

Torres' school wasn't chosen as a pilot, but he says the PTEO has affected it nonetheless.  "My school has a lot of very marginalized families," he explains.  "They want their school to get a lot of awards, to be very beautiful, and their students to get straight As.  But a better school is also one that can help those who need it most - single mothers, families with lots of economic problems.  Our parents are beginning to ask, what is the function of a school?  It's more than shining floors, with all the teachers wearing ties.  Our school should be changing reality.  That's what helping students really means."