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