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Friday, 7 March 2008

Justice in the Maquiladoras Speaking Tour

The Toronto Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World presents:
Justice in the Maquiladoras Speaking Tour

Sunday, March 16th 3pm, at the Concord Cafe
(937 Bloor St. West, two blocks west of Ossington Subway station)

Come learn about the grassroots movement of maquiladora workers, their
struggles against some of the world's most powerful corporations
(including Sony Electronics, Chrysler and Levis), their challenges,
and inspiring victories. The Coalition for Justice in the
Maquiladoras is currently focused on a campaign to form an independent
union at the automotive parts manufacturer Key Safety Systems,
employing over 2 000 workers in Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
Workers here are organizing to raise their wages above the current $8
per day, institute meaningful health and safety measures and ensure
women's rights are respected. The company has responded by firing
five of the rank and file leaders. Workers in the plant are
increasing their organizing, while the CJM has mounted an
international speaking tour to organize support. Key Safety Systems
is a leading supplier of steering wheels and airbags for General
Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

For more information about this event contact the Toronto IWW at:
iwwtoronto@gmail.com

About the speakers:

Martha Ojeda is the Executive Director of the CJM, based in San
Antonio, Texas. She is the primary liaison between
the core grassroots committees of workers and community activists
living in the communities surrounding the maquiladoras (production for
export factories), and the broader network of Mexican, Canadian and US
unions and NGOs that support the work of these groups. Martha was
originally a production worker at a Sony Electronics plant, she was
fired after helping initiate a strike for higher wages and improved
working conditions. Facing threats to her life, she fled to the
United States, where she was instrumental in forming the CJM in the
late nineties.

Israel Monroy works at the Key Safety Systems auto parts plant in
Valle Hermoso, a small town dominated by
maquiladoras on the northern border of Mexico. He is a key activist
and leader in the CJM's campaign to improve working conditions in this
factory, as well as other local maquiladoras.

Perla Cruz was recently fired by Key Safety Systems in Valle Hermoso
for being an outspoken activist on health and
safety concerns and women's rights within the plant. This speaking
tour is being organized specifically to build support for the CJM's
campaign at KSS.


About the CJM:

The CJM was founded in 1997 as a Mexican-Canadian-US-Dominican
network of labour, religious, women's and environmental organizations
committed to supporting the organizing efforts of maquiladora workers.
The centre of the CJM are grassroots groups maquiladora workers and
local community members based in northern Mexican cities including
Matamoros, Valle Hermoso, Juarez, Mexicali, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and
Tijuana. Supporting organizations assist with fundraising, legal
support, solidarity campaigns, training and public awareness.

The CJM was instrumental in pressuring Levis Jeans to recognize an
independent union at its plant in northern Mexico in 2006, an almost
unprecedented achievement in the maquiladoras. Local CJM affiliates
have mounted numerous campaigns to train maquiladora employees in
their rights, organize against the dumping of toxic waste from the
factories and advance women's rights and equity. A current major
campaign of the CJM is to win improved working conditions at the Key
Safety Systems factory in Valle Hermoso, Mexico, employing over two
thousand workers assembling components for GM, Ford and Chrysler.

For more information on the CJM visit coalitionforjustice.net

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