There are about 600 factories in Tijuana. Workers are frequently exploited, poorly paid, and even physically and sexually abused. Conditions in the maquiladora factories are often perilous and can endanger the lives of employees.
Many of the workers are indigenous women and immigrants from the less developed rural areas of Mexico. They are not accustomed to factory work and are unaware of their rights. They have little experience in organizing and fighting for justice and dignity.
In 2010 there were more than 6,000 labor conflicts in Tijuana.
Ollin Calli was formed in 2009 to advise, encourage and represent workers in the maquiladora factories as well as other workers in Tijuana industry.
In September 2010 700 maquiladora employees walked out of the Sharp electronics factory in Rosarito. The company would not recognize the workers’ committee. The company called in the police to confront the workers.
The workers’ committee contacted Ollin Calli, who gave them political and legal advice. The workers won a 4% pay raise, transportation to and from the factory and punishment of those in the management who had sexually abused female workers.
What does Ollin Calli do?
§ Supports the struggles of local communities for a pollution free and sustainable environment.
§ Promotes fair trade as opposed to free trade.
§ Provides a space for learning and support so that workers themselves can learn to defend their human and labor rights.
§ Focuses on empowerment leading toward achieving decent working conditions, occupational health and a better quality of life.
§ Provides legal advice to workers in Tijuana and surrounding districts.
§ Makes and sells beautiful handicrafts to help support their mission.
Ollin Calli mobilizes the people and organizes workshops. In these workshops they address human and labor rights, occupational health and sexual harassment. They raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health.
Ollin Calli conducts monthly maquiladora tours where we take groups concerned people in the U.S. across the border to spend a day getting to know the members of Ollin Calli and learning about the labor struggles first hand.
They have now given legal advice to almost 350 individual workers.
Although Ollin Calli is a local organization, they have global impact. Ollin Calli works with factories that supply a wide range of products to the United States and Canada – car parts, televisions, electronic goods, clothing and even children’s toys. These goods are frequently manufactured in a system which exploits and mistreats Mexican workers.
We are turning to you to ask for your generous help so that Ollin Calli can continue and grow. The challenges are huge. Their dedication is strong. They need your financial support. Their office rent is $250 a month. Water and electricity and phone bills are extra. Their total monthly expenses are $1,500.
We call on your generosity so that Ollin Calli can continue supplying legal advice, organizing workshops and most crucially publicizing their presence among the working people of Tijuana.
The San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network works to support Ollin Calli from the U.S. side of the border. We gratefully accept donations. The SDMWSN is a 501(C)(3) organization. Donations qualify as charitable contributions for tax purposes. All your donations are forwarded to Ollin Calli.
Go to our website to process donations:
Donations in the US are fully tax deductible.
Learn more about Ollin Calli in their website (in Spanish): Ollin Calli http://ollincallicm.blogspot.com/
Read Ollin Calli appeal letter here in: Ollin Calli letter (English) and Carta de Ollin Calli (Spanish)
Thank you very much
San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network