Women on the Border has gathered workers’ stories in order to help others understand the conditions and situations under which they live and work. Some of this material contains only interviewer’s notes. If material is used from these interviewer notes please give credit to the owner, Women on the Border.

Maquiladora workers

Amparo

Juan Pablo   Interview by Josefina Castillo

Sofia

Paty

Marina

Hearing the Workers’ Voices on issues in the workplace, housing and finding strength and courage to organize for justice in the maquiladoras:

Essay 1 – Leadership

BECOMING LEADERS: THE WOMEN IN
THE MAQUILADORAS OF PIEDRAS
NEGRAS, COAHUILA
by Elvia R. Arriola, J.D., M.A.

As I think about returning to Piedras Negras, Coahuila for a second set of interviews this weekend with women maquiladora workers, I remember the faces of the first group of obreras I met through the Comité Fronterizo de Obreras (CFO, or in English, the Border Committee of Women Workers) who talked about their struggles as poorly paid workers and their continual efforts to obtain a true living wage for themselves and their co-workers. The CFO is a group of women workers who use home meetings  Continue reading

Essay 2 – Housing conditions for workers and families

LOOKING OUT FROM A CARDBOARD BOX: WORKERS, THEIR FAMILIES AND THE MAQUILADORA INDUSTRY IN CIUDAD ACUÑA, COAHUILA
by Elvia Rosales Arriola, J.D., M.A.

It was late morning when I parked outside the home of Rosa María Ramos Rivas, “Rossy, ” 34 years old and the mother of two young boys. As I stepped out of the car I was careful to zip up my briefcase, a little worried that my tape recorder would fall into the mud left over from the heavy rains that had fallen over Ciudad Acuña, a border town with a booming maquiladora industry that sits on the other side of Del Rio, Texas. Rossy had just awakened, as she works a 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightshift at General Electric in Ciudad Acuña. She, her boys César and Marco, and her husband Abraham live in a two room house that she considers an improvement to the days when her family had no more than a blanket…Continue reading

Essay 3 – Working Women and Organizing for Justice

OF WOMAN BORN: COURAGE & STRENGTH TO
SURVIVE IN THE MAQUILADORAS OF REYNOSA
AND RIO BRAVO, TAMAULIPAS
by Elvia Rosales Arriola

As 27-year old María Elena García Sierra pulled off her white sock to show me the places on her feet where she suffered a recurring infection that began when she was 17, I struggled to contain my horror as I fumbled with a video camera to look at the scars. Pointing to the affected areas, she continued with her personal history as a maquiladora worker. . . Continue reading