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Philadelphia will be the first stop on a U.S./Canadian speaking tour by factory workers and labor organizers from the "free trade" zone of Valle Hermoso, Mexico. Seeking to expose the brutal truth about the deteriorating state of workers rights on the Mexican border, the speakers will give a free presentation to the public on Thursday, March 6th, 7:00 PM at Studio 34 (located at 4522 Baltimore Ave in West Philadelphia/University City). The event will be preceded by an 11:00 AM protest at a Hyundai dealership on 754 Baltimore Pike, Springfield. (Hyundai orders auto equipment from Key Safety Systems.)

The tour, organized by the Mexico-based Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, and hosted by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW--an independent labor union), will take place from March 4th-18th. Other planned stops include Detroit, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with the focal point being a protest at Key Safety Systems headquarters in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Key Safety Systems is a leading global producer of airbags and other auto safety systems, which has sent its production to maquiladoras (factories) such as Valle Hermoso, Mexico, just south of Texas, in search of cheap workers and the unfettered right to exploit. Two Mexican workers organizing at KSS's Valle Hermoso plant, Perla Cruz and Israel Monroy, will speak on the human costs of NAFTA-style free trade. CJM coordinator Martha Ojeda will also be present.
Cruz and Monroy will speak of the low wages, environmental pollution, discrimination and labor and human rights abuses that now characterize Mexico's northern border. Cruz was fired Feb. 14 as part of KSS's efforts to crush workers' efforts to build an independent union to redress these conditions. According to Ojeda, "Key Safety System has concealed unsafe conditions, detained, harassed and intimidated workers, and fired workers for organizing, while announcing 1,200 job openings".
Background information is available at:
NAFTA from Below

Originally posted to forrest on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mexico has famously bad, corrupt enforcement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, PatriciaVa, Owllwoman

    When the volume of business activity booms, it's no surprise that an already weak regulatory regime cracks under the strain.

    "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

    by burrow owl on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 09:59:19 AM PST

  •  It's a good thing that neither candidate is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    supporting NAFTA. LMFAO

    ....and an "eye of the beholder" to you too.

    by leftbird on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:03:53 AM PST

  •  Free Trade not Problem in Mexico (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, Utahrd

    Free trade hasn't been the problem in Mexico.  RightWing GOP economic policies embraced by the PAN/PRI have been the reason why Mexican workers haven't prospered.

    Free trade works, as it allows an entity to focus on its comparative advantage.  It is up to government to ensure that the benefits of free trade are redistributed.  Both HRC and BO have promised to expand redistribution programs.  Robert Rubin has discussed "wage insurance" as one mechanism.

    On to Mexico.  

    Do any of you know how much the Mexican government collect in taxes.  Less than 10% of GDP.  The figure in the US is about 33%.

    Until the RightWing Mexican government of Calderon (Bush is a moderate compared to him) realizes that a progressive fiscal code is necessary for economic prosperity, Mexican workers will continue to be abused, as the government will not have the resources to assist them.

    It has to do with fiscal policy, not trade policy.

    Mexico would be in FAR worse shape were it not for NAFTA.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

    by PatriciaVa on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:05:09 AM PST

    •  Thank You Mr. Rubin (0+ / 0-)

      Free trade works, as it allows an entity to focus on its comparative advantage

      Now why don't you tell us all, given that Ricardo's "Theory Of Comparative Advantage" pre-supposes that the factors of production are immobile between countries and this is clearly no longer the case with the modern definition of 'free trade', what exactly Mexico has a comparative advantage at producing?

      Robert Rubin has discussed "wage insurance" as one mechanism

      Wake me up when your hero informs us all as to what will occur, given that the majority of people whose jobs are lost thru trade end up working for less when they are finally re-employed, when the 'wage insurance' runs out.

      Both HRC and BO have promised to expand redistribution programs

      So then why call it 'free trade' at all? Simply call it what it is -- the distribution of production towards the lowest labor cost, with the typical 'Post Democrat' approach of forced redistribution of the wealth once the race to the bottom is well on its way?

      <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

      by superscalar on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:39:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Connecticut has free trade with Mississippi (0+ / 0-)

        Why haven't all of Connecticut's jobs left & moved to Mississippi?

        •  At the risk of answering a question (0+ / 0-)

          with a question, 60% of what is imported to the United States from China is not imported from Chinese owned corporations in China, but is imported from US owned corporations operating in China.

          If there was any validity to your analog of 'free trade' between the US and China and 'free trade' between Connecticut and Mississippi, why did those companies move to China in the first place? Why didn't they just move to Mississippi instead?

          Why haven't all of Connecticut's jobs left & moved to Mississippi

          One of the largest reasons I can think of is that trade between Connecticut and Mississippi is not 'free', and my moving my manufacturing plant from Connecticut and Mississippi does not allow me to almost totally avoid the externalities of having that plant in Connecticut to begin with.

          <div style="font-size:10px;text-align:center;background-color:#ffd;color:#f33">If the terriers and bariffs are torn down, this economy will grow - G. Bush

          by superscalar on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:59:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Besides futbol and beisbol (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl

      Mexico's other national sport is tax evasion.  Why pay taxes when some PAN bureaucrat is just going to steal them & wire transfer them to his Cayman Islands bank account?

      What's the PRD opinion on NAFTA?  Would they increase tariffs on US and Canadian goods or would they apply quotas?

      •  Similar to Democratic Party (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl, Utahrd

        Unsurprisingly, PRD's stance is similar to the one voiced by BO and HRC during the last week: Renegotiate.

        They want both, a decrease in quotas and higher tariffs.

        What Mexico needs is MUCH higher productivity.  In agriculture, each acre is about 30% as productive as one in the US.  In manufacturing, their plants are not nearly as productive as Chinese factories.

        Why?  Mexico needs to move up the value chain.  And, to do this, it needs to invest MUCH more in infrastructure and human resources.

        Of course, difficult to do so when you collect 10% of GDP in taxes, while you neighbor to the North collects as much as 33%.  And when the three primary competitors in emerging markets, Brazil, India and China, are investing much more than you.

        But heaven forbid you ask the affluent to pay their fair share.  We can't have Roberto Hernandez, who sold Banamex for US$ 10B to Citigroup, pay capital gains tax.

        That would be "counterproductive".  And don't even suggest it in Monterrey (Mexico City is much more progressive, even within investment banks), for they will brand you a "comunista".

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. http://www1.hamiltonproject.org/es/hamilton/hamilton_hp.htm

        by PatriciaVa on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 11:10:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Watch Lou Dobbs blow his mind tonight, (0+ / 0-)

    heh heh.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Mon Mar 03, 2008 at 10:49:50 AM PST

  •  link to Studio 34 (0+ / 0-)

    May I suggest you edit your post to link "Studio 34" to its website: http://www.studio34yoga.com. This will help readers find the venue. Thanks.

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