Comité Fronterizo
de Obrer@s

CFO

For the labor rights and all human rights of the maquiladora workers

 
   
   
   
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Maquiladora Justice

Global frontrunners
Continental Airlines Magazine
August 1996

By Sam Quiñones
Piedras Negras, México

Julia Quiñonez spent her adolescence working in the maquiladoras, foreign-owned assembly plants, of Piedras Negras by day to help her family survive. By night, she studied to complete her high school diploma, determined that the factories along the U.S.-Mexico border would not be her future.

She was wrong. Kind of. Today, the 30 year old mother of three still spends many of her days at the plants. But now factory managers might not be so glad to see her. Quiñonez spends her days trudging through the cardboard shantytowns near the town's factories, organizing seminars on federal labor law, worker safety and hygiene. She works for the Comité Fronterizo de Obreras, a Quaker-funded group with hundreds of women like her along the border.

The Comité, she says, tries to train women - who make up to 60 percent of the 600,000 member maquildora work force - on what their rights are, without getting them fired. Many women come from the countryside barely literate and unaware of Mexican labor law. That, and what employers perceive as they agility and docility, are why maquiladoras managers prefer them to men.

"I do this work for personal satisfaction," says Quiñonez, who has been at it full time for three years. "Injustice bothers me. The work is very hard. Every day [worker's] buying power drops further. Our educational process in slow. But I think it's effective."

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www.cfomaquiladoras.org is produced in cooperation with the
Mexico-U.S Border Program
of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Comité Fronterizo de Obrer@s (CFO)
Monterrey #1103, Col. Las Fuentes
Piedras Negras, Coahuila
C.P. 26010, México