December 20, 2010
Over the last decade the garment industry in and around Tehuacan has gone through a dramatic transition. The combined effects of the 2001 US economic downturn, the final phase-out of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) in 2005, and the 2009 global economic crisis have severely weakened Tehucan's garment industry and made more precarious the living and working conditions in which workers and their families find themselves.
There has been a significant drop in the number of registered manufacturing facilities and of garment workers employed. At the same time, the percentage of production taking place in informal workshops and homes seems to be increasing. Unfortunately labour conditions are often as bad as or worse in these informal workshops than at registered factories.
In 2003, the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Human and Labour Rights Commission of Tehuacan Valley produced reports in English and Spanish on worker rights in the garment industry in Tehuacan. The global economic situation and other factors in Mexico have contributed to significant change in the industry since the report came out in early 2003. In 2010, Rodrigo Santiago Hernandez, one of the authors of the original Spanish report, produced an update. The following is MSN's summary and analysis of his research findings.