NYS Labor Religion Coalition Delegation To Mexican Border February 2002
Typical view down a street in Colonia Blanca near the home of former Delphi Company worker Maria de la Luz. Maria developed cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy after working with solvents (toluene) at the plant until her health insurance ran out after she could no longer work.
A view of kitchen facilities in a house in Colonia Voluntad y Trabajo.
Having lunch and meeting with workers organizing through DODS (Derechos Obreros y Democracia Sindical -- Worker Rights and Union Democracy) in a restaurant near Reynosa. Among other activities, DODS attempts to assist unemployed Delphi workers. (We are wearing caps with the insignia of the United University Professions who sponsored our trip.)
The Breed Company bought this former Auto Trim plant. The square blue signs advertise this as an ISO 9000 plant. The plant makes steering wheel covers in a process which uses various toxic chemicals. Workers are not provided with protective clothing nor is there proper ventilation in the plant.
Workers are bussed from distant colonias to the maquiladoras in company buses. These buses had been used by school districts in the U.S. until they became too old for further use. Companies charge workers a substantial fee for transportation.
Some men work driving the donkey carts around the colonias collecting garbage. Homes in the picture are along side a garbage dump.
This garbage dump is located alongside a small lake adjacent to a colonia. A strong wind blew the acrid smoke and dust into our faces making it difficult to breath. Note the pig scrounging for food in the foreground.
Colonia Derechos Humanos. The children loved to have their pictures taken.
These children have just been in for a basic check-up at the clinic in the Colonia Derechos Humanos. High school students on the delegation passed out crayons and coloring paper to restore smiles after the visit.
The children have just finished a check-up at the medical clinic in colonia Derechos Humanos. They are coloring in coloring books distributed by high school students from the delegation and visiting with Sister Maria Teresa, one of the sponsors of the clinic.
Several homes across the dirt street from the clinic in the Colonia Derechos Humanos. Note wood shipping pallets used in building the homes.
The area verde, similar to a town commons, in Colonia Derechos Humanos. It includes this playground and soccer field. In the background are school buildings and a communal building built by the Rotary Club of Matamoros.
A drainage canal, into which various toxic waste is dumped, collects garbage as well. "Sedimentation Program Canal -- For the health of your children, do not deposit garbage in the canal and pay attention that no one does." The numerous white spots on the canal banks are various garbage.
A view down the drainage canal which carries sewage and chemicals from maquiladoras. Homes and businesses border both sides of this canal.
A close up view of the toxic garbage in the drainage canal. People needing fill for their yards or for their dirt floors take soil from the polluted canal.
Visiting a school sponsored by New York State United Teachers in Colonia Juan Tamez.
Children in one of the colonias are waiting to join the delegation for a lunch fiesta of gallo mole, a chicken meal in a spicy chocolate sauce, which was prepared by workers for the delegation's visit.
After a meal at a worker's house, students and workers spoke about their lives. One worker, Natividad, is talking about being laid off from a maquiladora job last year after the number of work shifts was cut due to economic decline in the U.S. He now works at an even lesser paying job during the day and goes to high school in the evening
The Duro Company plant. Recently a group of workers attempted to use the Mexican legal system to organize an independent union in this plant. They were opposed by both the company and the existing "ghost" union.
The Delegation meeting with Margarita and Carmen Julia in Rio Bravo. Both women were dismissed from the Duro plant after trying to organize an independent union. They are now unemployed because they are blacklisted by all the maquiladoras in the area.
Graffiti on a wall in Colonia Americas near the Duro Company plant. "Vota por un sindicato independiente" means vote for an independent union.
Another view of meeting with former Duro Company workers Carmen Julia and Margarita. These Duro workers,who were leading the drive for an independent union, are blacklisted and will not be employed by any of the maquiladoras in the area.