The Muebles Fino workers in Tijuana are still upset. I recently went to a gathering they held outside of the now closed maquila where some of them built furniture for over 15 years.
The rain kept most away, but the dozen or so workers and supporters who showed up were fervent in their demands for compensation. Mexican labor law, you see, demands the company give the longtime employees a severance payment.
According to the spokesperson I talked to, only a few of the workers have been paid any money and all. None have been paid what they’re owed. Somehow, though, the owners, a company called California FineWood Co. based in Carson, Calif., manages to pay the three or four security guards we saw blocking the entrance to the defunct maquila. There is still furniture and expensive equipment inside, which the workers argue should be sold off to pay the severance packages. Apparently, the California-based owners feel as though paying the security guards is a better use of their money.
The factory has been closed for nearly a year now and the case of the workers is still caught up in the equivalent of the Tijuana labor board. According to signs posted on the maquila, however, the company says the deadline for payment has past.
Unfortunately, this is just one example of how the Mexican labor laws are trampled on by foreign owners who use Mexico as their assembly plants.