Together we can defend ourselves : For the opening of a Supporting and Counseling Center for workers in Ciudad Juárez.

 

Due to financial needs, a lot of women in Mexico are forced to leave their homeland and migrate to other geographic areas with more labor opportunities. They leave behind their life, their homes and children with hope of finding a job that will provide a better life for them and their family. Ciudad Juárez is a city at the border with the United States that receives every year thousands of women all over Mexico in search of new opportunities. The maquiladoras are, among other work spaces, an important source of employment for these women.

Labor conditions in the maquiladoras are characterized by high levels of exploitation and discrimination. Women working in the maquiladoras have reported that from their recruitment process they have experienced discriminatory practices that go against the Law. For example, some mention they are submitted to antidoping or pregnancy tests as a condition for their hiring. The same labor offers contain unpromising selection criterias as age limits and health criterias to be able to work. 

“We do not deserve to be all our life in the maquiladora…”

Mireya, maquiladora worker.

 

 

Women in the maquiladoras work more than 12 hours a day in precarious labor conditions for a subsistence salary. They are rarely told how to do the activities they are supposed to do, that is why women from the same maquiladoras help each other to get trained. They are also not allowed to rest or go to the bathroom if their superior hasn’t approved.

The long working hours, day after day, induce physical and emotional stress. Various women who have worked or do work in the sector suffer from stress, anxiety and deterioration of their joints, back and wrists. These symptoms are permanent and irreversible, triggering the end of their work life and economic autonomy.

“We have a co-worker that had her hand affected by work […]. In those cases, the social security asks for a  medical assessment and if there is carpal tunnel syndrome, the only option they offer is surgery. The problem is very few people recover from surgery. It withdraws even more mobility to the hand. If they do not have surgery, the women workers do not have access to disability leave or to a partial or total pension. It is unfair and it only magnifies labor and economic problems for women”.

Mireya and Betty, maquiladora workers. 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic only came to exacerbate the precarious labor situation of people working in the maquiladoras. Nowadays, a lot of people with comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes or hypertension have been fired from the maquiladoras. It has been difficult for them to find a new job opportunity. 

 

“There is discrimination for health matters. A large number of people had years working in the maquiladoras but now (with the pandemic) as they are listed as vulnerable people, they were withdrawn from their work. There is even a group of women workers that haven’t yet found another job because they are in this group of vulnerable people”.

Betty, maquiladora worker.

 

 

Women organized: a counterweight to the maquiladoras’ injustices.

 

 

In absence of groups claiming for workers’ labor rights in Ciudad Juárez, some courageous women working in the maquiladoras decided to organize in an aim of defending and promoting their labor human rights. Betty, Mireya, Erika and Perla are only some of those women coming from different origins and stories that decided to come together for a common goal: fight for labor dignity. That ‘s how the Colectiva Rosa Luxemburgo started.

 

“We chose Rosa Luxemburg as the name of the Collective because she was a woman of political protest who fought for the proletariat to have its own voice. She is an icon for women on March 8th”.

Betty, maquiladora worker.

The Colectiva wants to organize workers to advocate on decision makers, as well as to establish projects of social economy. With various years of collective organization and assistance to workers, the Colectiva has become a reference in the community of Ciudad Juárez. For 2022, the women from the Colectiva have a big dream: open a Supporting and Counseling Center for workers!

 

 

Support women to open the Center!

 

 

The Center wants to be a counterweight to the discriminatory practices workers face in the maquiladoras. They also wish it becomes a safe space of encounter for workers from the most marginalized sectors of Ciudad Juárez’s economy. The Colectiva will be attending the information requests that arrive to the Center and organizing coordinated responses to the labor human rights violations. 

To achieve their dream, Mireya, Betty, Erika, Perla and the rest of the Colectiva wish to receive training on Mexican Labor Rights. They are convinced that with this training they will be able to provide an effective and accurate attention to the people showing at the Center. With this significant change, they will start a long history of support, assistance and collective fight for labor human rights. 

 

Don’t give it a second thought and join the cause!

 

 

 

 

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