[CMI-Chiapas] Americas Program | Toxic Border
communications en irc-online.org
Mie Dic 29 14:54:22 PST 2004
What's New at the Americas Program
“A New World of Ideas, Analysis and Policy Options”
December 29, 2004
New from the IRC's Americas Program:
The Toxic Border
By David Bacon
In early September 2002, the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras (CJM)
put out a call to border activists, urging them to act quickly to salvage one
of the few remaining complaints filed under the North American Agreement on
Labor Cooperationthe case of mistreated workers at Customtrim/Autotrim. Inside
the cavernous San DiegoConvention Center, the CJM had learned, the temporary
Binational Working Group on Occupational Safety and Health was holding a secret
discussion between U.S. and Mexican government officials, supposedly to find
ways of protecting the safety and health of maquiladora workers.
What followed that call, and the ultimate fate of the Customtrim/Autotrim complaint,
is not only a stark illustration of the failure of the NAALC, but also a grim
warning. A second Bush administration has already begun a hard push for the
Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Free Trade Area of the
Americas (FTAA). Free trade's defenders argue that the rights of workers in
Central and South Americaunder these agreements can be protected in much the
same way that the NAALC protected the rights of workers in Mexico. The bitter
experience of the workers at Customtrim/Autotrim and their supporters, however,
indicates that exactly opposite is true. Labor protections embodied in the
NAALC not only failed in this one case, but in every other effort made by workers
to use the same mechanism to protect their health, their safety and their rights
at work. Basing protection for workers in future agreements on this experience
condemns them to the same fate.
David Bacon is a reporter and photographer specializing in labor issues and
a regular contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, online at http://www.fpif.org.
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Siri D. Khalsa
Email: communications at irc-online.org
Siri D. Khalsa
Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC)
siri at irc-online.org
IRC Projects Online:
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