|Detail of poster for artistic exchange & the FAT's 13th convention|
|Artist Beatriz Aurora|
Mexican Labor News & Analysis
February , 2012, Vol. 17, No. 2
Contents for this issue:
- Please Join the Fight to Defend the Labor Rights of Mexican Workers During the International Days of Action -- February 19 - 25!
- New Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA) Web Site
- No Protection: a Graphic Novel about Employer Protection Contracts in Mexico
- National Action Party (PAN) Nominates Josefina Vázquez Mota
- López Obrador Forms Alliance with Electrical Workers' Union
- Elba Esther Gordillo: Where Will Teacher Leader Go Now?
- Frente Auténtico Del Trabajo (FAT) Settles Contract at UE Sister Shop
- PKC Signs Protection Contract with Ctm Union, Ignoring Workers
- Teachers Carry Out Mass Protests in Many Mexican States
- UFCW Canada and the Mexican States of Guerrero and Oaxaca Sign Cooperation Agreements on Migrant Workers' Rights
- CLC Pleased with Developments for Mexican Electrical Workers: Canadian and American Offices Accept Complaint under Nafta
- Human Rights Body Suspects Cops in Protest Deaths
- Guerrero Activists Demand Justice in Killing of Two Students
- Vigilante Justice, Lynchings Another Sign of Social Breakdown?
- Mexican Workers Pulverized in the 21st Century
- Gulf of America?
- Social Statistics
- Up-coming Events
- Resources: Important articles and photographs from David Bacon
Please Join the Fight to Defend the Labor Rights of Mexican Workers During the International Days of Action -- February 19 - 25!
The Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA) is a cooperative effort by unions in the US, Mexico and Canada and our allies to defend labor rights. We are organizing the 2012 Days of Action between February 19th and 25th, where we will be visiting Mexican embassies and consulates. This effort was initiated by several Global Union federations and will take place not only in our countries, but around the world. We encourage organizations and individuals to join us in sending a forceful message to the Mexican government! Check out the IMF web site for materials.
Get Involved and Learn First Hand What Is Happening at a free Webinar
In addition, TNSA and the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild are co-sponsoring a webinar to provide a first hand view of the situation facing unions in Mexico and to prepare people who will be visiting embassies or consulates during the Days of Action.
The webinar will feature Lorraine Clewer, Director of the Solidarity Center office in Mexico City and Robin Alexander, Director of International Affairs for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). It is free and open to the public.
Join the webinar on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM.
*note - you must register in advance to receive the link to enter the webinar.
For more information about the webinar, contact: Robin Alexander at
412-471-8919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild: http://www.nlginternational.org/ or contact the coordinator at email@example.com
New Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA) Web Site
TNSA has just launched our web site – www.trinationalsolidarity.org -- and we encourage people to 1) sign up to receive occasional alerts; 2) “like” us on facebook (you can go to our facebook page from the web site) and 3) follow us on twitter at twitter.com/TrinationalSol
No Protection: a Graphic Novel about Employer Protection Contracts in Mexico
No Protection is a graphic novel about employer protection contracts in Mexico: A tale of worker organizing, vultures, corruption ... and time travel.
The original Spanish-language version of this comic book was published in 2010 by the International Campaign Against Protection Contracts with the support of a number of Canadian, US, European and Mexican unions and labour rights NGOs.
Although the comic book was produced specifically for Mexican workers, it also provides a good explanation to trade unionists in other countries of a problem particular to Mexico -the practice of employers negotiating protection contracts with unrepresentative unions without the knowledge or consent of the workers covered by those agreements.
National Action Party (PAN) Nominates Josefina Vázquez Mota
The National Action Party (PAN), Mexico’s conservative, pro-business party, has nominated its first woman presidential candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, an economist and former Secretary of Labor. She won 54% of the votes cast by PAN members in a national primary election, defeating Ernesto Cordero with 38.9% and Santiago Creel who received just 6%. Just over half a million votes were cast representing 28% of registered PAN members nationwide.
While she is a woman candidate, she is not necessarily the women’s candidate and certainly not a feminist candidate. As Professor Jocelyn H. Olcott of Duke University told The New York Times, “She’s running explicitly as someone who affirms rather than challenges conventional gender stereotypes.. She’s being put forward as the nurturing, soothing, national caretaker who will put the house back in order.” Vázquez Mota, Olcott added, “certainly won’t support reproductive rights, and she’s unlikely to make issues like wage parity, social services and antidiscrimination major objectives for her administration.”
She is running against Enrique Peña Nieto, former governor of the State of Mexico, who is the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the party that ruled the country from 1929 to 2000, and against Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the former mayor of Mexico City, who is the candidate of the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Progressive Movement coalition.
The central issues facing the candidates and the electorate are the war on drugs and the economy. President Felipe Calderón of the PAN has, during the last five years, carried out a war against the drug cartels that has taken 50,000 lives and has involved many human rights violations by the police and the military. At the same time, the Mexican economy remains weak, with high levels of unemployment and poverty. The Calderón administration has also attacked labor unions and workers rights, and that too will be an issue in the election to be held July 1.
López Obrador Forms Alliance with Electrical Workers' Union
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and the Progressive Movement, participated in a mass meeting in Mexico City on February 4 with the embattled members of the Electrical Workers Union (SME) where the candidate and the union’s leaders announcing a mutual support pact. For their part the SME members promised to support López Obrador in the coming election. In turn, López Obrador vowed that when he became president he would return to work the 16,500 union members still fighting for their jobs; these are among the more than 40,000 workers who lost their jobs on October 10, 2009 when President Felipe Calderón sent police and troops to occupy the plants, liquidated the company, and terminated the workers.
The announcement of the alliance between the left-of-center political candidate and the besieged union came as no surprise. In early October of last year, the Electrical Workers Union and other unions, popular organizations, and leftist groups created the Political Organization of the People and the Workers (OPT), pledging to support López Obrador’s candidacy.
At this mass gathering, SME members wore t-shirts reading, “Con López Obrador en 2012 a la prole nos va a ir mejor.” The shirt might be translated as, “With López Obrador in 2012, the prole (proletariat) will do better,” though the word “prole” in Spanish also means offspring.
While López Obrador was grateful for the union’s support, he also criticized the SME, “fraternally” for having over the last two years flirted with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the hopes of winning its support in the union’s struggle to return to their jobs. “I was irritated by the position you had assumed,” said López Obrador, “because you were forgetting that this national tragedy is the responsibility of both the PRI and the PAN. Not a vote for the PRI, nor a vote for the PAN. That is the right slogan for this two-headed party.”
Elba Esther Gordillo: Where Will Teacher Leader Go Now?
Elba Esther Gordillo, the powerful leader of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE) and of its political arm The New Alliance Party (PANAL), had been lined up to support the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its candidates in the coming election. The union has over a million members in cities, towns and rural areas throughout Mexico, and its power in the electoral arena is significant.
Gordillo, had once been the top leader of the PRI, though for the last six years she has backed Mexican President Felipe Calderón; it seemed she was returning to the fold.
Then toward the end of January, the PRI and PANAL, surprisingly quietly and without any apparent hostility, broke off their political relationship. Pundits speculated that PRI’s leaders resented the fact that the much smaller PANAL would receive a disproportionate number of legislative or other political seats, meaning they would lose positions, power, money and perks. The PRI was supposed to back four PANAL Senate candidates and 24 deputies or representatives. Several of those candidates were relatives of Gordillo.
Monica Arriola, general secretary of PANAL and daughter of Gordillo, claims that PANAL can turn out 3% of the vote, or just enough to decide the election. That had seemed attractive to Ernesto Cordero, former Treasury Secretary and one of the contenders for the National Action Party (PAN) nomination, and he flirted with Gordillo. But, now that he has lost the PAN nomination to Josefina Vázquez Mota, the issue is moot. As for Vázquez Mota, she had rejected any alliance with PANAL out of hand.
So Gordillo, so ambitious, so unscrupulous, so opportunistic, now finds herself out in the cold. Or does she….? Given her history, nothing should surprise us.
Frente Auténtico Del Trabajo (FAT) Settles Contract at UE Sister Shop
Mexico City, Mexico
On January 24 STIMAHCS, the metalworkers union affiliated with the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), settled its first contract with DMI (formerly Metaldyne), covering workers in the Mexico City plant.
This has been a long and tough campaign. The Mexican DMI workers won an election on October 8, 2010, following a two-year struggle to get the Mexican labor board to hold an election. Both before and after their election victory, the workers had to overcome numerous legal obstacles and experienced first-hand the combined power of the employer, state and official unions. Many workers were fired, and at times fear and discouragement threatened to prevail. But new waves of workers vowed to continue and they finally won the right to a union of their own choosing and recognition from the company.
Although negotiations were not easy, as the company and negotiating committee worked through the issues, DMI management came to understand and appreciate what it means for workers to be represented by a democratic union.
Benedicto Martínez, General Secretary of STIMAHCS and one of the national leaders of the FAT observed, “After a very long organizing campaign we were able to obtain a good first contract: a 5% wage increase plus improvements in benefits. But the most important thing from our perspective is that despite the difficulties inherent in contract negotiations -- and more so when management is prejudiced against independent unionism in general and against us in particular because of our history of struggle -- we had the opportunity to engage in discussions with the general manager and were able to commit to each other to work together to try, through dialog, to resolve all of the problems that may occur in the plant.”
Members of UE Local 715 also manufacture automotive suspension systems for DMI and have shown solidarity with the workers in Mexico throughout the campaign.
PKC Signs Protection Contract with Ctm Union, Ignoring Workers
This article was originally published by the International Metalworkers Federation
MEXICO: Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico, a Mexican subsidiary of the auto parts wiring systems and accessories company PKC, has told workers at its plants that it has signed a collective agreement with the CTM. The workers had decided they wanted the SNTMMSRM to represent them.
The company’s human resources representative in Mexico and plant manager communicated a message from the company president, Harri Suutari, to all factory assembly lines and departments.
The message, which was delivered in English and interpreted orally into Spanish for the workers said (the original English is not available, below is a translation of its Spanish version): “the company has been able to work without a union for many years because it has been a company with open doors, ready to listen to workers and resolve their concerns and problems. It has recently come to our attention that outside groups want to destabilize labor peace, recruit workers and get into the company. Under these circumstances, and in order to protect itself and jobs, the company has decided to sign a collective agreement with the Mexican Confederation of Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores de México, CTM), led by Tereso Medina, in Coahuila so that no other unions get involved. You may ask yourselves what is the best union? We would say the CTM, because it represents workers in the auto parts industry. How much will the union dues be? Nothing, because the company is going to pay them so that the CTM does not enter the plants and has nothing to do with you. Things will continue as usual, for example, the company will continue to recruit new staff. What will the benefits be? Labour peace and a secure job for many years".
The IMF rejects PKC’s anti-trade union attitude and its intention to impose a union against the wishes of its employees. The IMF and other international non-governmental organizations that combat protection contracts in Mexico and support the miners’ union’s struggle condemn the company’s actions. Feb 06, 2012 – Alex Ivanou
Teachers Carry Out Mass Protests in Many Mexican States
Tens of thousands of teachers carried out strikes and mass protests in Mexico City and several states of Western, Central and Southeastern Mexico on February 2 and 3. The demonstrations were organized by the dissident National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE) of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE). In the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Guanajuato teachers took over toll booths and blocked highways, as well as occupying public buildings. In Mexico City, 35,000 teachers marched through the city, many of them younger new teachers, while hundreds blocked the Mexican Congress.
Teachers expressed their anger toward the union’s leader Elba Esther Gordillo and the government of President Felipe Calderón for their attacks on teachers’ rights. Under the terms of the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE) and other agreements between the government and the union, teachers are now subjected to regular examinations, evaluations, and performance reviews. The dissident teachers say they do not object to the reviews, but argue that they should be constructive rather than punitive, helping to improve teachers’ capabilities, rather than leading to disciplinary action and possible firing.
Throughout Mexico tens of thousands of teachers have refused to fill out the forms which precede the various examinations and evaluations, while others say they will not take the tests. They are also asking parents not to permit their children to take the national examination, the Enlace.
UFCW Canada and the Mexican States of Guerrero and Oaxaca Sign Cooperation Agreements on Migrant Workers' Rights
Information from UFCW Canada Human Rights Department Releases
In mid-January, Wayne Hanley, National President of UFCW Canada signed agreements with Angel Aguirre Rivero, governor of the State of Guerrero and with Rufino Dominguez, Director of the Instituto Oaxaqueno de Atencion a Migrantes (IOAM). The documents include a mutual cooperation pact and letter of intent to protect the human and labor rights of Mexican temporary agricultural workers in Canada. The cooperation pact will provide assistance, training and outreach to improve the living and working conditions of migrants before, during and after their stay in Canada.
In association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), UFCW Canada will assist workers through its network of ten AWA support centers across Canada, with Spanish-speaking staff. Services include assistance with issues such as labor rights, housing conditions, health and safety, workers’ compensation and other work related matters. The AWA also provides a toll-free assistance phone line accessible from anywhere in Canada and Mexico, for workers and their families.
Other actors who have joined this international cooperation strategy with UFCW Canada include the governments of Michoacan, Tlaxcala and Distrito Federal, as well as two of the biggest agricultural workers labour federations.
Every season, more than 17,000 Mexicans work in Canada under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP); a bilateral treaty between Mexico and Canada.
The new government of Oaxaca used the occasion the International Day of the Migrant to call for a new era of respect for the rights of migrants . For an account with beautiful photographs, see OAXACA'S NEW GOVERNMENT CALLS FOR MIGRANT RIGHTS by David Bacon at TruthOut Report, 1/5/12
CLC Pleased with Developments for Mexican Electrical Workers: Canadian and American Offices Accept Complaint under Nafta
Posted: Wednesday, 18 January 2012 on the website of the Canadian Labour Congress
OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress says it is pleased that a complaint by the Mexican Union of Electrical Workers (SME) against their government will be heard in both Canada and the United States under the North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation (NAALC).
“This is a positive development and we hope that it will convince the Mexican government to negotiate in good faith with the workers who they have treated so scandalously,” says Hassan Yussuff, CLC Secretary-Treasurer.
In October 2009, the Mexican government extinguished Central Light and Power (LyFC), one of Mexico’s two state-owned utility companies. The decree led to the termination of LyFC’s 44,362 unionized workers (the SME’s entire working membership), as well as the SME’s collective agreement and bargaining rights. The government used police and soldiers to occupy and shut down LyFC’s headquarters and hundreds of its workplaces, and also harassed and intimidated the union and its members.
Since the extinction of LyFC, the Mexican government has been running the operations of LyFC and has been providing the same power services previously provided by LyFC, through the use of non-unionized employees and hundreds of non-unionized subcontractors.
Yussuff says, “We believe this was a violation of Mexico’s labour laws and its constitution. It was also a violation of Mexico’s responsibilities under the labour side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).”
The Mexican union, along with the CLC, the United Steelworkers and more than 80 other unions and non-government organizations from across North America, submitted an official complaint to the National Administrative Offices (NAOs) in Canada and the U.S. under the NAALC. The parties have now been informed that the offices in both Canada and the U.S. have accepted the complaints and will proceed to review them.
Yussuff adds, “This development comes at an important time because it will add to the pressure being placed on the Mexican government.” The government has been negotiating with the union to either reinstate or re-employ more than 16,000 workers who had refused to take a severance package after their company was unilaterally shut down. But government negotiators have been backsliding and the workers fear that the government will renege on its promises.
Human Rights Body Suspects Cops in Protest Deaths
Source: Associated Press: 01/10
Mexico's governmental National Human Rights Commission says police in the southern state of Guerrero probably fired the shots that killed two demonstrators at a violent protest last month. Commission President Raul Plascencia says investigators haven't proved who fired the shots, federal or state police. He says police failed to help wounded demonstrators or preserve evidence after the Dec. 12 incident. Plascencia said it is unclear who set fire to a gasoline station on the highway that the protesters were blocking. A station employee died later of burns. Students from a rural teachers college blocked the road to demand more funds for the school and battled police trying to clear the highway.
Guerrero Activists Demand Justice in Killing of Two Students
Hundreds of protestors marched and demonstrated in front of the state capitol building in Chilpancingo, Guerrero in early February to demand justice in the case of two students killed by police at the end of last year.
Police killed two students, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echevveria, as they protested the Sun Highway in the Southern State of Guerrero on December 12th, 2011. Police claimed they were justified in shooting the students because the protestors were launching Molotov cocktails into a gas station where they caused the death of one worker. Students claim the police, disguised as students, set off the gas station explosion.
“We as young people have realized what reality we are living in this country, and this is what the government shows us how they pay us back,” said Pablo Ramírez Valente, who recently graduated from the Ayotzinga Normal School which was the center of the movement. “This is how they pay us, with repression, harassment, disappearance and the death of our comrades who were fighting for their rights.”
During the violent December encounter, 300 police reportedly fired live ammunition at protestors for over 20 minutes.
The Guerrero state government issued a statement on the day of the march: “As a democratic government, our vocation is not repression but respect for the rights of all. So far this government never has prevented the public demonstration as enshrined in the ideals of the federal Constitution, much less limited public expressions of protest.”
[See The Real News video reportage at: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=7874]
Vigilante Justice, Lynchings Another Sign of Social Breakdown?
Three men thought to have been responsible for an attempted kidnapping of a high school student were beaten, one to death, while the other two were soaked in gasoline and burned alive by a mob of 600 townspeople of San Mateo Huitzilzingo, en Chalco.
The murder of the three young men between 20 and 30 years of age represented the latest in a string of 61 attempted or successful lynchings since the beginning of 2011 in rural or suburban slum areas in the State of Mexico. The lynchings occur most frequently in poor or marginal areas with low levels of income and education. Citizens in these areas have little confidence in the police who are notoriously corrupt.
Vigilante justice of this sort is common in Mexico and has been for decades. The typical lynching occurs when someone shouts out that a robbery or sexual assault is supposedly taking place. People in the crowd grab the suspects and they are typically beaten and burned alive. The police generally intervene but often too late to save the victims.
Mexican writers tend to attribute the lynchings to the lack of confidence in the authorities and the police because of their notorious corruption. The question arises whether this is a persistent problem of justice in Mexico or whether it is another expression of the breakdown of the Mexican state in the drug war. One has the impression that during periods of economic and social crisis, such vigilante justice increases, while in more stable or expansive periods it tends to decrease; though we don’t know of a study that proves that argument. In any case, vigilante justice and lynchings remain a disturbing problem in Mexican society.
[A chronology of recent lynchings can be found at: http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/639400.html. A 2005 study of lynchings in Mexico by location can be found at: http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/src/inicio/ArtPdfRed.jsp?iCve=32513104. There are also several books in Spanish on Mexican lynching.]
Mexican Workers Pulverized in the 21st Century
Sources: El Sur/Agencia Reforma, February 6, 2012. La Jornada, December 19, 2011. Article by Susana Gonzalez G.
A new study reconfirms what many people know from first-hand experience: Mexican workers' purchasing power has plummeted since the turn of the century.
In a just-released report, the economics department of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) documented the number of hours the lowest-paid workers need to labor in order purchase a basic basket of goods made up of rice, cooking oil, beans, milk, sugar, coffee, and other routinely consumed products. According to the analysis, Mexican workers earning the daily minimum wage had to toil 11.38 hours in December 2011 to buy a basic basket of commodities, compared with the 9.55 hours of work necessary to buy the same group of products in December 2001.
The UNAM study also compared Mexican workers' purchasing power with their counterparts in five other Latin American nations. While Costa Rican and Peruvian workers also witnessed a drop in their purchasing power between 2001 and 2011, low-income workers in Guatemala, Uruguay and Brazil actually experienced significant jumps in the buying value of their wages during the same decade.
In view of the deterioration in the purchasing power of Mexican wages vis a vis those in the other Latin American countries examined, David Lozano, UNAM economist, called the study's findings "alarming." Of the six nations studied by UNAM researchers, Mexico ranked Numero Uno in the devaluation of the purchasing power of minimum wage workers. The study reported that the daily minimum wage in Mexico lost 24.42 percent of its consumer punch in the ten year period analyzed.
While only 9.2 percent of Mexican workers earn the daily minimum salary of about five bucks, the UNAM report gives a general idea of the pressures facing much bigger slices of the working class. A large group of workers, or 26.3 percent, earns between one and two minimum salaries daily, while another nearly-as-large segment, or 26.1 percent, makes between two and three minimum salaries every day. In sum, more than 60 percent of Mexican workers struggle to get by on wages that hover between $5 and $15 each day.
In 2012, a new round of price hikes bodes further ills for workers' purchasing power.
In the southern state of Guerrero, for instance, the cost of a kilo of the staple corn tortilla has now reached 16 pesos -- well above a dollar -- in the small neighborhood outlets where Mexicans are accustomed to shopping. By the end of last year, tortilla prices reportedly hit 18 pesos a kilo in some places in the northern border state of Chihuahua. In Guerrero, tortillas can be purchased for significantly lower prices at large commercial supermarket chains like Walmart's Bodega Aurrera (7.90 pesos) or Comercial Mexicana (9.90 pesos), which process huge amounts of corn flour and operate on economies of scale the mom-and-pop stores are unable to match.
Yet even the going prices at the big box stores are well above the average tortilla price of about six pesos in 2006, the year when the outgoing Calderón administration assumed office.
In a broad economic context, the Mexican economy during 2001-2011 was characterized by the signing of numerous free trade agreements, macro-economic stability, infusions and contractions of foreign capital investments, two recessions linked to international economic crises spawned in the United States, spikes and plunges in migrant remittances, and declines in international tourism.
Other trends included the weakening of unions, the increased outsourcing of workers and booms in the illicit economy. Especially during the last five years, millions of young Mexicans came of working age at a time when the historic safety valve of migration to the United States was largely slammed shut.
Gulf of America?
The use of language and the use of names tell us so much about our cultures and our outlooks, about our ideologies and our ideals.
Democrat Steve Holland, a Mississippi State Rep. has just introduced a bill in the state legislature that would change the name of the Gulf of Mexico—or at least the part that borders Mississippi to the “Gulf of America.” His HB 150, introduced to the state House Marine Resources Committee, would change the name by July 1.
In once sense this is not so strange. The United States and Mexico often differ on the names of bodies of water. People in the United States call the river dividing the United States from Mexico the Rio Grande, while Mexicans call it the Río Bravo. Those in the U.S. call the water that lies between Baja California and the Mexican mainland the Gulf of California, while Mexicans generally call it the Sea of Cortez.
Interestingly, for Spanish speakers there is just one continent—America—not two, North and South. Spanish speakers refer to all of those who live in the Americas (North and South and the Islands of the Caribbean) as “Americans,” while U.S. citizens claim that name just for themselves.
In the case of Mr. Holland, patriotism seems to have overcome good judgment. We at MLNA will continue to refer to the Gulf of Mexico, even when referring to water that may lap the shores of Mississippi.
Mexico’s informal sector grew to 14 million people in 2011 according to INEGI, the Mexican government National Institute of Statistics and Geography. This compares to 13.2 million workers who are registered with the Mexican Institute of Social Security which covers most private sector workers. This was an increase of over 1.6 million since 2010. Altogether the country has 47.8 million employed people, including those working for the government, the petroleum industry, and for themselves.
One out of three workers in Mexico earns less than two minimum wages per day, or 120 pesos, approximately US$10 per day, which is not a living wage. A little less than half of all Mexican workers have no access to health care and four out of ten have no benefits whatsoever, according to the National Occupational and Employment Survey (ENOE).
March, 2012: Leader of Fat to Speak in New York, Albany, Syracuse and Pittsburgh
Benedicto Martínez, one of the co-presidents of the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo and vice president of the National Union of Workers will be speaking at the Left Forum in New York City (March 18), in Albany (March 19), at the University of Syracuse (March 20) and at the UALE conference in Pittsburgh (March 22, where he will be joined by leaders of the UE, USW and Los Mineros).
Human Rights Fact-finding Delegation to Chiapas Mexico
The Chiapas Support Committee of Oakland, California announces a Human Rights Fact-Finding Delegation to Chiapas Mexico for an in-depth exploration of how corporate globalization is affecting indigenous communities constructing autonomy (self-governance).
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 654-9587 for more information or to request an application. Applications and a deposit due February 18, 2012. A deposit of $100 is required with your application in order to reserve a space. Balance is due March 5, 2012.
Resources: Important articles and photographs from David Bacon
In addition to the new web site for the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance (TNSA) and the comic book on protection contracts which appear above, we wanted to make you aware that David Bacon has been particularly prolific during this period.
His work includes a three part series on migration taken from the report "Displaced, Unequal and Criminalized - Fighting for the Rights of Migrants in the United States" that examines the origins of the current migratory labor phenomenon, the mechanisms that maintain it, and proposals for a more equitable system.
We also encourage you to check out his amazing photography display on the border wall in Mexicali, Baja California Norte described below.
"Displaced, Unequal and Criminalized - Fighting for the Rights of Migrants in the United Stated"
Migration: A Product of Free Market Reforms
Americas Program website, Posted on: 12/01/2012
The Modern Immigrant Rights Movement
Americas Program website, Posted on: 14/01/2012
Increasing Reliance on Guest Worker Programs
Americas Program website, Posted on: 14/01/2012
Border Photos Show on the Border Wall Itself
Border Wall, Mexicali, Baja California Norte
February 2 through April 30
"Beyond Borders" -- photographs by David Bacon
On February 2, the Center for Cultural Investigation of the Autonomous University of Baja California mounted an exhibition of 18 large photographs, taken by photographer David Bacon, on the border wall, next to the garita, or gate, between Mexicali, in Mexico, and Calexico, in the United States. The photographs, which measure about 6' by 4', hang on the steel beams that make up the wall in the section of the border that lies between the two cities. They hang on the Mexican side, next to the lanes where traffic lines up, waiting to cross into the U.S. At times, hundreds of cars spend over an hour in the lines, giving drivers ample opportunity to look at and react to the images.
The show, called "Beyond Borders," consists of images that document the process of migration. Some show the life of Mexican migrants in the U.S., while others were taken in migrants' home communities in Mexico. Three photographs show children working in the fields in northern Baja California, including one taken just a few miles from the Mexicali gate itself.