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Fwd: Support Industria Fronteriza Workers (Tijuana)

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  • Gretchen Begley
    ... Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 08:24:46 EST From: Globalifobicas@aol.com Reply-To: Globalifobicas@aol.com Subject: Support Industria Fronteriza Workers (Tijuana)
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2002
      ----- Forwarded message from Globalifobicas@... -----
      Date: Sat, 21 Dec 2002 08:24:46 EST
      From: Globalifobicas@...
      Reply-To: Globalifobicas@...
      Subject: Support Industria Fronteriza Workers (Tijuana)
      To: Globalifobicas@...



      Hundred of workers, mostly women, have been laid off without any severance
      pay from Industria Fronteriza, a maquiladora in Tijuana. Some of the workers
      were laid off from Industria Fronteriza after having worked there for more
      than 20 years. The workers are facing Christmas and the New Year with no
      money, no jobs, no severance pay, and no opportunities to obtain a new job
      since the maquiladoras will not hire anybody until February 2003 or later.
      At the same time, the Industria Fronteriza workers are fighting back,
      demanding the severance pay that under Mexican labor laws they are entitled
      to receive from the company. Please help support them!


      As other maquiladoras in Baja California, Industria Fronteriza faced many
      problems after September 11. The company is currently insolvent, facing huge
      debts and legal demands from several customers. Industria Fronteriza is in
      bankruptcy, but the owners are denying that in order to escape their legal
      obligations. Instead, they have figured out how to steal the workers'
      severance pay.

      The first conflict exploded in May 2002 when the Industria Fronteriza owners
      did not pay the yearly bonus to the workers. According to the Mexican labor
      laws, the companies have to recognize workers' efforts by paying them 10% of
      the annual profits. Industria Fronteriza failed to fulfill this obligation
      and a group of workers protested. The revolt was controlled by the managers,
      who gave some excuses and promises (that never were accomplished). Then they
      fired the workers who had headed the protest. These workers have challenged
      the enterprise in the Mexican labor courts.

      Many workers still believed in the Industria Fronteriza owners' promises, but
      suddenly their loyalty was put to a test. In September 2002, the workers
      suddenly "discovered" they had a union when the "union leaders" came to the
      factory and forced the workers to sign an "agreement" with the company: you
      will accept to "rest" for three months without pay and, in exchange, the
      generous enterprise will give you a week of salary compensation and the
      promise, a new promise, that you will return to work in January 2003. This is
      all you will receive after having worked from 10 to 15 years in Industria

      In other words, they were fired without the severance pay. Having this
      "agreement," the enterprise was trying to escape paying a severance from five
      to ten months of salary that workers must receive according to the Mexican
      labor laws. The workers could not believe their ears. Who were the union
      leaders? A group of lawyers who had been working for the company for several
      years. What about if I don't accept the agreement? The leaders will force you
      to accept it, even if it means kidnapping you inside the factory for hours
      after your leave time. In a room, they "convinced" them: no bathroom, no
      food, no phone was available until they signed. So, they signed the
      "agreement." Some workers abandoned the factory, crying. They could not
      understand how the owners could treat them so unjustly. Some of them had even
      knew the owners on a personal level, since they'd worked there so long.

      Then they got organized. A group of workers sued Industria Fronteriza, since
      the "agreement" is a violation of the Mexican labor laws. In addition, the
      workers asked from the Labor Department an embargo against Industria
      Fronteriza. It was evident that the owners were preparing themselves to run
      away with money, equipment and property from Industria Fronteriza. They were
      ready to completely abandon the workers. The Labor Department, however, did
      everything possible to avoid declaring the embargo.


      The Industria Fronteriza owners are masters of trickery. In November 2002 the
      factory was still open: about fifty workers, the most faithful according to
      the supervisors, remained working, but their time finally came. The union
      leaders returned to the factory to inform the workers that they were on
      strike! It was a legal maneuver to lay off the resting workers without having
      to pay them a severance: you are not fired, you just are on strike. It was
      also a cleaver move to disclaim the demands of the previously fired workers.
      Declaring a strike, the owners built a complex legal labyrinth. If the
      factory is finally out of the business, who is going to be the first one to
      receive compensation? Yes, Mexican law says that the workers, but which
      workers? A malicious division was promoted between the workers previously
      laid off and the ones who were now on strike. The owners of course control
      the union. Supervisors and even a couple of owners are registered as "workers
      who support the strike." They want to have a long strike, and perhaps after
      years, when the workers have long abandoned any hope of severance, the owners
      will still be there, and will "negotiate" with the union to recuperate their


      December 2002: The workers are currently beginning to organize. They are
      trying to weave unity between the different groups to force the company to
      accept bankruptcy and leave the property to the workers.


      A new effort called the San Diego Maquiladora Workers' Support Network is
      collaborating with the Industria Fronteriza workers.

      The laid-off workers at Industria Fronteriza need money for food while they
      organize to get the money the company owes them. If you would like to help
      support them, please write a check to "Stop the FTAA COALITION," and sent it
      to: Fred Lonidier, UC/AFT Local 2034, P.O. Box 12005, La Jolla CA 92039. We
      will be cashing these checks and taking the money to the workers.

      In addition, we are accepting donations of winter clothes, toys (for
      Christmas and "Dia de Reyes") and "despensas" (nonperishable food: beans,
      rice, milk, tuna fish cans, etc.)

      We will send out updates about the struggle at Industria Fronteriza, and we
      will be in close touch with Cittac, Workers Information Center (Centro de
      Informacion para Trabajadoras y Trabajadores) which is supporting Industria
      Fronteriza workers.

      In case letters, emails, or demonstrations are called for, we will inform you.

      If you have further questions about the rather complicated story of the
      Industria Fronteriza workers, e-mail Enrique Davalos at
      maquilatijuanasandiego@.... Let's help the maquiladora workers win
      this fight, so they can win bigger fights in the future!

      ----- End forwarded message -----

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