By Jaime Cota, Cittac
First they fired the workers from the maquiladora across the street, and I did not speak out—
Because I didn’t work there.
Then they shut down the night shift at my factory, and I did not speak out—
Because I worked during the day shift.
Then they fired all the new employees, and I did not speak out—
Because I’d been working there for more than five years.
Then they told me I was fired—
And there was no one left to speak out for me.
Translated by David Schmidt, Si Se Puede
More on Cota, first published in CityBeat:
Matter of enforcement
by Kinsee Morlan
Born in the bloody wake of the Mexican Revolution, the 1917 Constitution of Mexico is actually pretty progressive. Mexican labor laws, according to Jaime Cota, a legal representative who’s worked on thousands of cases involving workers’ rights in Tijuana, are particularly advanced. The problem, he says, is the lack of enforcement.
Here are just a few examples from Title VI, the labor and social security laws, of the 1917 Mexican Constitution:
* The maximum duration of work for one day shall be eight hours.
* For every six days of work, a worker must have a least one day of rest.
* Equal wages shall be paid for equal work, regardless of sex or nationality.
* The general minimum wage must be sufficient to satisfy the normal material, social and cultural needs of the head of a family and to provide for the compulsory education of his children.
* The laws shall recognize strikes and lockouts as rights of workmen and employers. Strikes shall be legal when they have as their purpose the attaining of an equilibrium among the various factors of production.
* Women shall be entitled to one month’s leave prior to the approximate date indicated for childbirth and to two months’ leave after such date. During the nursing period, they shall have two extra rest periods a day, of a half hour each, for nursing their children.