By David Bacon
Unlike reporters who've made short tours into strawberry fields and maquiladoras, Bacon has greater than a decade's adventure reporting at the flooring on the border, and he has built sustained relationships with ratings of staff and organizers who've entrusted him with their tales. He describes harsh stipulations of kid hard work within the Mexicali Valley, the deplorable housing outdoors factories in towns similar to Tijuana, and company retaliation confronted by means of union organizers. He reveals that, regardless of the guarantees of its backers, NAFTA has locked in a harsh neoliberal financial coverage that has swept away legislation and protections that Mexican employees had verified over many years. greater than a show off for NAFTA's sufferers, this publication strains the emergence of a brand new social cognizance, telling how staff in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada at the moment are commencing to sign up for jointly in a strong new technique of cross-border organizing as they look for financial and social justice.
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Extra resources for The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S. Mexico Border
At last, the teacher had only two left, and they closed it,” a neighbor told López. “We realize that what drives the children into the ﬁelds is that the wages their parents receive [aren’t] enough to support the family,” González comments bitterly. “We’re not dreaming we can end this. S. in 1996) for a dozen bunches of onions. For an adult, this can amount to 50 pesos on a good day. A young child might produce twenty or thirty dozen bunches—half the total produced by an adult. Workers in the ﬁelds report that the growers don’t raise the piece rate from year to year, despite big price increases for groceries.
Labor movements globally debate the same question. “Governments are told that workers’ rights and economic development are a zero-sum game, that improving workers’ lives slows development,” explains Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions. “In the pursuit of proﬁt, they are told to remove worker protections, and then use that as an inducement for investment. But development is a wider concept. . ” Unless the international trade structure is changed drastically, national development alternatives, based on rising wages and production for a domestic market, will not be possible.
S. policy in areas where it leads to a drastic decline in living standards, whether this occurs through loan bailouts in Mexico, austerity programs in East Asia, or economic reforms in Eastern Europe. S. S. unions pursue a political agenda that focuses on guaranteeing rights and security. Mexican workers and voters took a historic step toward their own political independence on July 2, 2000, casting aside the Party of the Institutionalized Revolution (PRI, Partido de la Revolución Institucional), the party that had governed them for seventy-one years, for its failure to follow an agenda that protected their interests.