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6/11: Migrant Workers Killed, Other News/Actions from Tijuana & US-Mexico Border

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    Migrant Workers Killed, and Other News/Actions from Tijuana & US-Mexico Border From US-Mexico Border Infrmation Bulletin June 11, 2004 *to join the US-Mexico
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 11, 2004
      Migrant Workers Killed, and Other News/Actions from Tijuana & US-Mexico Border
      From US-Mexico Border Infrmation Bulletin
      June 11, 2004

      *to join the US-Mexico Border Information Bulletin, send e-mail to:

      2 Killed As Migrant Workers' Van Flips
      c The Associated Press

      PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - A crowded van carrying 11 people rolled over on a
      highway, killing two migrant workers and injuring two others, authorities

      The van, meant to carry about seven passengers, was traveling to North
      Carolina on Tuesday night when it flipped over, said Lt. Tim Frith of the Florida
      Highway Patrol.

      ``It was heading off on the shoulder, overturned when the driver tried to
      overcorrect it and then came to rest on its roof,'' he said.

      The names of the victims, believed to be from Guatemala, were not released.
      Nobody in the van had driver's licenses and only a few had identification,
      authorities said.

      One of the injured men was critically injured, and the other was in serious
      condition, Frith said.

      The accident came two months after a crash in nearby Fort Pierce killed nine
      migrant workers on their way home from work in citrus groves. All 19
      passengers were ejected.

      Port St. Lucie is about 50 miles northwest of West Palm Beach.

      06/09/04 18:11 EDT

      Labor, Political and Enviromental News from US-Mexico Border
      1) News from Maclovio Rojas, Baja California, Mexico (Maquiladora Workers’
      Children Center)
      2) Support maquiladora workers of Industria Fronteriza, Tijuana (Maquiladora
      Workers Solidarity Network)
      3) Expanded Farming Threatens Species and Water in Northern Chihuahua (FNS)

      1) News from Maclovio Rojas, Baja California, Mexico
      Maquiladora Workers’ Children Center

      Caring for children is a big problem for maquiladora workers. Many workers
      are single mothers or are the children's primary care person. Many female
      workers in Tijuana are migrants who came alone to Tijuana and lack the traditional
      family network to support them. It is hard to be a mother and to work in a
      maquiladora. They cannot spend the day working while they know their children
      are alone at home or in the streets. Consequently, a maquiladora worker-mother
      prefers the third shift, laboring in the night, because this way she can be
      present during the day cleaning house, attending the children, and sometimes
      working at another job for some extra money. Of course, the cost is very high
      because these workers get almost no sleep. In addition, when they leave their
      house at 8 pm, they are afraid of what will happen to their children if they
      don't have somebody who can look after them. They remember that one child died
      when a big bookshelf he was playing with fell down and trapped him. That is why
      some mothers even resort to giving sleeping pills to the children; this way
      they are sure children will be safe and spend the night sleeping.

      Many residents of Maclovio Rojas are female maquiladora workers. Daycare is
      a major issue but private daycare services are a luxury that no maquiladora
      worker can afford. A new project of the Maclovio Rojas community is a daycare
      center at Casa de la Mujer, Women's House. This is a humble but promising,
      meaningful effort. Doña Nadia is in charge of this center where children are
      attended from 6 am to 6 pm. There are many difficulties. The furniture is old and
      dangerous for little kids, and the available mattresses are infested with
      cockroaches. Doña Nadia is deciding to throw away this furniture even if that
      means to have nothing else. Children receive food daily because Doña Nadia and
      the community ask for donations. However, she needs to carefully check any
      new donations because sometimes the food is decomposed and worsens the condition
      of many children who already arrive sick with diarrhea and vomiting. For the
      Maclovio Rojas community, this children center is the beginning of another
      collective autonomous project. For some workers/parents, this is the only
      available alternative (the price is 10 dollars per week per child, 100 pesos). Would
      you like to support this effort?


      Maclovio Rojas:

      A Brief Introduction to the Community and its Struggle

      On April 10, 1988 twenty-five families founded the Maclovio Rojas community
      on the kilometer 29 marker between Tijuana and Tecate. These initial families
      were all members of an independent union of agricultural workers called the
      Central Independiente de Obreros Agricolas y Campesinos (CIOAC, Independent
      Center of Agricultural Workers and Peasants). CIOAC has struggled for years in
      support of agricultural workers, especially in the San Quintín Valley, south of
      Ensenada. The residents named their community after Maclovio Rojas Márquez,
      a CIOAC leader of Mixteco descent from Oaxaca who was killed in 1987.

      The practice of taking over vacant land to build housing upon is a
      long-standing practice in Mexico and especially in Tijuana. When unemployment is high,
      wages are at a poverty level and affordable housing is simply not available,
      there's simply no other choice. Residents of Maclovio Rojas have built their
      houses out of whatever is available, mostly scrap materials (most conspicuous
      in the community are the old wooden garage doors salvaged from the U.S.).
      Because the government doesn't recognize their community, it assumes no obligation
      to provide basic services such as paved roads, schools, running water,
      electricity, or sewers.

      The residents of Maclovio Rojas have toiled for almost sixteen years now to
      establish decent living conditions in their community. In some cases, the
      residents have taken for themselves the services to which they are entitled,
      siphoning off water and electricity from the municipal systems, since the
      government won't install the infrastructure. But most everything else they find ways
      of providing for themselves. Over the years the community has constructed a
      school, a women's center, a two story cultural center - called an Aguascalientes
      in the Zapatista tradition.

      Just up the road, however, the nearby industrial parks that house Hyundai and
      other maquiladoras, are fully paved and serviced. Many of the residents of
      Maclovio Rojas are employed in these nearby plants. In 1997, Maclovio
      residents were at the forefront of a struggle to establish an independent union at the
      Hyundai plant. This struggle received international attention as it was one
      of the first cases to test the labor side agreements to NAFTA that were
      supposed to ensure that labor laws were not violated.

      Since the community’s inception, the residents of Maclovio Rojas have been
      engaged in a prolonged struggle to defend their homes and freedom. After
      settling the land and building their homes, the residents filed for formal ownership
      with Mexican authorities. However, after the Hyundai plant was built, a
      nearby ejido petitioned for ownership of the Maclovio. Although this would appear
      at first glance to be a conflict between two communities, all eyes turned to
      the maquiladora owners. Ejido lands used to be sacred until President Carlos
      Salinas de Gortari reformed the constitution to allow them to be sold. With
      the price of the land near the maquilas skyrocketing, there was no question
      that land, if granted to the ejido, would be sold to the highest bidder.

      Today some 2,000 families (about 10,000 inhabitants) reside on the 197
      hectares. Over the years, they've engaged in a series of marches and protests to
      keep out the bulldozers and remove their leaders from prison. Hortensia
      Hernandez, the community’s president, spent two months in prison in 1996, only to be
      released when the government couldn't produce any evidence she had committed a
      crime. In 1994, they stepped up the efforts to obtain the legal titles to
      the land and were charged with land invasion (despojo). On one occasion, the
      government began bulldozing houses and community residents had to risk their
      lives by placing themselves in front of the demolition crew. In 1995 they made a
      payment of 37,500 pesos to legalize their ownership of the 197 hectares. And
      yet the struggle continues..

      Recent Events

      June 25, 2002 A group calling itself the Ejército Villista de
      Liberación Nacional (EVLN) declares its support for the residents of Maclovio
      Rojas. However it denounces the leaders of Maclovio Rojas and takes side in a
      land dispute between residents.

      June 28, 2002 A group of a about 200 police officers (from
      Tijuana, Baja California and Mexican government) surround the neighborhood with
      orders to arrest Hortencia Hernandez and other leaders of Maclovio Rojas. Their
      presence is clearly an act of provocation, designed to provoke a confrontation
      with the residents and justify an action of repression.

      July 16, 2002 Demonstration in front of the Mexican Consulate,
      San Diego, organized by: California Coalition Against Poverty, CCAP

      December 4, 2002 Six cars of the Judicial Police of Baja California
      entered the Maclovio Rojas community in an attempt to arrest the leaders, which
      include Hortensia Hernandez and Artemio Osuna. The police were not able to
      arrest everyone, but they detained a co-worker and important organizer of the
      community, Nicolasa Ramos, along with her 2 year-old granddaughter. The arrest
      order against Nicolasa and the organizers of Maclovio Rojas is based on the
      alleged crime of theft of water from the municipal aqueduct put forth by CESPT
      (State Commission of Public Services). Artemio and Hortensia are forced into

      May 10, 2003 Juan Regalado, community organizer and resident is
      detained and arrested on the same charge of water theft.

      November 11, 2003 EVLN attempts to take hold over a plot of land. A
      community organizer is threatened with a hammer and the police are called. The
      organizers hold an all night vigil in order to protect the property.

      December 4, 2003 Protest against the one-year anniversary of Nicolasa’s
      imprisonment at the offices of CESPT.

      December 12, 2003 Virgen de Guadalupe statue inaugurated at the community

      Despite the repression, the struggle to maintain their community and move
      their projects forward is still going strong. Unfortunately, the community
      leadership has been debilitated with the constant accusations, threats and
      lawsuits. Today over 42 lawsuits against various leaders and community members have
      been filed. The claims usurp the community’s economic capacities, putting the
      growth of the community in a precarious situation. To this day the president,
      Hortensia, and vice-president, Artemio, are still in hiding.

      Cittac, Centro de Información para Trabajadoras y Trabajadores, Tijuana
      (Workers' Information Center)
      San Diego Maquiladora Workers' Solidarity Network

      2) Support maquiladora workers of Industria Fronteriza, Tijuana

      Dear compañeras y compañeros,

      The group of Industria Fronteriza’s workers who were fired on June 2002 after
      fighting their rights has suited the company and they are now one step before
      defeating the company in a long, complex, sometimes outrageous legal battle.
      A new obstacle, one more, however, is here: the president of the Mexican Labor
      Board, Mr. Miguel Gutierrez, does not want to sign a document that is crucial
      for the workers. The signature has been delayed for 45 days without any
      excuse. This is not about signing a resolution. It is just a signature that
      authorizes the workers to have a copy of a resolution that was made some months ago;
      just a plain, simple bureaucratic procedure. So, new pressure is needed to
      force Mr. Gutierrez to sign, or perhaps just to remain him the work he is
      supposed to do.

      Please support the workers sending the letter below by both e-mail and fax.
      (Please send us a copy of your letter.) A longer explanation about this battle
      is available below in Spanish. Thank you


      The Industria Fronteriza Workers’ Coalition for Justice (Coalición Pro
      Justicia de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de Industria Fronteriza)
      Workers’ Information Center CITTAC (Centro de Información para Trabajadores y
      San Diego Maquiladora Workers Solidarity Network



      Please send the letter to:

      Lic. Miguel Gutiérrez, Presidente de la JFCy A, México

      Fax: (from USA) 011-52 (55) 3000-1102
      E-mail: mgcantu@...



      (NOTE: Please sign after the first paragraph of the letter.)

      Lic. Miguel Ángel Gutiérrez
      Presidente de la Junta Federal de Conciliación y Arbitraje
      México D.F.


      Nos ha llegado la siguiente carta de los y las trabajadoras de Industria
      Fronteriza, IFSA, de Tijuana. Le pedimos que atienda a la brevedad posible a la
      petición señalada, firme las copias de los documentos que le requieren y no se
      obstaculice más los derechos señalados en las leyes laborales mexicanas.


      (Your signature here)

      Carta de los y las trabajadoras de Industria Fronteriza

      Los trabajadores y trabajadoras de Industria Fronteriza, SA de CV demandamos
      de usted la entrega inmediata a nuestra representación legal de las copias
      certificadas del siguiente documento que es crucial para la resolución de nuestro
      conflicto laboral: copias certificadas del laudo referente a la huelgadel
      Sindicato Industrial 7 de Enero Trabajadores Textiles y Conexos de la R.M. (CROM)
      contra la empresa Industria Fronteriza, SA de CV de Tijuana, Baja California
      (Expediente III 3345/02).

      Este documento lo solicitó nuestra representación legal desde el 20 de abril
      y lo único que se requiere para su entrega es la firma de usted. La Coalición
      Pro Justicia de los Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de Industria Fronteriza
      obtuvimos un laudo favorable contra la empresa citada el día 1 de marzo de 2004.
      Luego, este laudo fue ratificado el 23 de abril de 2004 por Juzgado Séptimo del
      Distrito en el Estado de Baja California, el cual sobreseyó el amparo promovido
      por la empresa. Ahora procede embargar y rematar los bienes de la empresa
      necesarios para obtener los fondos necesarios para pagar nuestra indemnización
      por despido injustificado. La ejecución del laudo requiere presentar la copia
      certificada del documento arriba señalado; por eso demandamos de usted la firma
      y entrega inmediata a nuestra representación legal de las copias certificadas
      del documento arriba señalado.


      Coalición Pro Justicia de los Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de Industria




      Industria Fronteriza es una fábrica que tenia 39 años laborando en la
      fabricación de medias, ropa íntima y deportiva para mujeres. Sus dueños son una
      familia de norteamericanos residentes de San Diego. Entre sus clientes se
      encuentran Vida Enterprice, Maxwell Hosiery, Danskyn y The Weekend Exercise. IFSA se
      caracteriza por el trato y las condiciones inhumanas en la que nos tenían
      trabajando. Por ejemplo nosotros nos veíamos forzados a laborar entre 12 y 16 horas
      sin ninguna protección de seguridad e higiene y sin botiquín de primeros
      auxilios. También recibíamos gritos, humillaciones, amenazas etc. Esto que a diario
      vivíamos no era nuevo; ya en 1974, trabajadoras despedidas de IFSA
      denunciaban que: “100 mujeres en su mayoría madres de familia... son explotadas
      vilmente por el comerciante extranjero Wolf Model”

      En junio del 2002 un grupo de trabajadores pedimos que se nos repartiera a
      los trabajadores el 10% de las utilidades que por ley nos corresponde. Los
      patrones se enojaron tanto con esta petición que nos despidieron a cinco
      trabajadores. Cuatro de nosotros demandamos por despido injustificado.

      El 19 de noviembre del 2002 la empresa, en complicidad con el Sindicato
      Industrial 7 de Enero (CROM), obligo a los trabajadores a estallar una huelga.
      Esta huelga aparecía como una acción de los y las trabajadoras, pero en realidad
      era una huelga patronal estallada para evitar que los mil deudores de IFSA
      embargaran los bienes de los dueños. Los y las trabajadoras, sin embargo,
      retomaron la huelga, la transformaron en un movimiento de trabajadores y demandaron
      que los bienes de la empresa se utilicen para el pago de sus salarios e
      indemnización. Algunos de ellos tienen hasta 30 años laborando en IFSA. El proceso
      legal de la huelga se ha extendido desde noviembre de 2002 hasta junio de 2004.
      Tras nueve audiencias de huelga realizadas en la Ciudad de México, los y las
      trabajadoras ganaron el caso. Sin embargo, la empresa se ha amparado en dos
      ocasiones y en este momento se está esperando la resolución del segundo amparo.

      Por otro lado, el grupo de nosotros, los y las despedidas por pedir reparto
      de utilidades, demandamos a la empresa por despido injustificado. La presidenta
      de la Junta de Conciliación en Tijuana, Celina Tostado, alargo el conflicto
      legal por casi dos años, cancelo cuatro audiencias pretextando artículos de la
      Ley Federal de Trabajo que no venían al caso. Así, tuvimos que presionar a la
      Junta de distintas formas. El 12 de enero de 2003 formamos la Coalición de
      Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de Industria Fronteriza, a la cual nos afiliamos mas
      de 200 trabajadores, y por presión del dirigente del sindicato 7 de enero
      la coalición se dividió. Hoy en día la mantenemos el grupo que fuimos
      despedidos injustificadamente, por ejemplo la Presidenta de la JFCyA nos dio fecha
      para audiencia, primero de septiembre este día no realizo la audiencia
      pretextando, que según su calendario no trabajaban, nos hemos manifestado de distintas
      maneras una de ellas es marchando en Tijuana y San Diego para pedir justicia,
      El 3 de diciembre 2003, después de 528 días, finalmente logramos tener la
      primera audiencia. El primero de marzo ganamos el juicio. La empresa, no
      conforme con la resolución a favor de nosotros, se amparó, pero el 23 de abril de
      2004 le ganamos el amparo. El siguiente paso es que embarguemos parte de la
      maquinaria para venderla y así obtener fondos para el pago de nuestra indemnización
      que por ley nos corresponde.

      Para embargar necesitamos que la Junta Federal de Conciliación y Arbitraje
      nos proporcione copias certificadas del laudo referente a la huelga del
      Sindicato Industrial 7 de Enero Trabajadores Textiles y Conexos de la R.M. (CROM)
      contra la empresa Industria Fronteriza, SA de CV de Tijuana, Baja California y que
      asta el momento no a entregado.

      Como se puede ver, nuestro proceso no ha sido fácil, especialmente por la
      complicidad de las autoridades y las acciones del sindicato de la CROM para
      dividir a nuestra coalición y a los trabajadores en huelga. Pero con los distintos
      apoyos que nos han brindado estudiantes, profesores, trabajadores, personas y
      organizaciones, entre ellas CITTAC, y con la cobertura en los medios de
      comunicación de nuestra lucha hemos logrado superar los obstáculos que se nos han
      presentado. Seguiremos luchando por hacer justicia, pues el triunfo esta cerca
      y no permitiremos que los dueños de Industria Fronteriza se burlen de
      nosotros, los y las trabajadoras que los hicimos millonarios.


      Margarita Avalos, Coalición Pro Justicia de los Trabajadores y Trabajadoras
      de Industria Fronteriza
      Mayo de 2004

      3) FNS: Expanded Farming Threatens Species and Water in Northern Chihuahua
      June 11, 2004

      The illegal conversion of grassland to farmland and the drilling of
      unauthorized wells is threatening ecosystems and communities in Northern
      Chihuahua, according to an article in the Chihuahua City newspaper El
      Heraldo. More than 300 species of animals live in the region and some may be
      threatened by increased development including the Golden Eagle, the Harris
      Hawk, the Red Tail Hawk, the Pronghorn Antelope and the Prairie Dog.

      The Heraldo article pointed to two specific areas that are seeing the
      plowing of their prairies. One area is in the northwestern corner of
      Chihuahua, near the cities of Janos and Ascensión. The other area is
      between Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua City, in the area around El Sueco.
      Mennonite agricultural communities in these regions are said to be
      responsible for most of the unauthorized farming.

      José Mario Sánchez, the head of the Procuraduría Federal de Protección al
      Ambiente (Federal Environmental Protection Office, Profepa) in Chihuahua,
      said that before grasslands are plowed into farmland another federal
      environmental agency, Semarnat, must perform an impact study and then give a
      favorable recommendation to the government of Chihuahua. At that point
      Chihuahua environment officials must approve or deny the permit. Sánchez
      says that this process is not being followed in the above mentioned regions.

      Not only are animals losing habitat with the creation of new agricultural
      fields but those working the land are burning it before they plant.
      Although this practice is prohibited, El Heraldo indicates that the grass is
      set aflame so that it is harder to detect the conversion.

      Due to the slight rainfall the region receives, wells are necessary to
      irrigate new fields. However, there is currently a ban on well drilling in
      the areas that are experiencing increased farming. Too much drilling could
      affect water supply to existing wells in the area, El Heraldo noted.

      Source: El Heraldo de Chihuahua (Chihuahua City), June 11, 2004. Article by
      Juan Francisco Garay Ruiz.

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      August 27 Immigrant Workers Day of Action and Speak Out!
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