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Boom, Bust, ExodusThe Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities$
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Chad Broughton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199765614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199765614.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 September 2021

“Esa es Mi Visión”

“Esa es Mi Visión”

(p.188) 12 “Esa es Mi Visión”
Boom, Bust, Exodus

Chad Broughton

Oxford University Press

Laura Flora Oliveros woke at 5 a.m. and used water in a plastic tub to wash off. She then ate toast and drank watery coffee before leaving around 6 a.m. to make her 7 a.m. shift. On the micro, maquila workers, most of them in their 20s and 30s, usually kept to themselves as they headed to the factories. Sometimes Flora sold manualidades (handicrafts), like the vibrant carrot-orange crocheted dress she had recently finished, on the bus to work. She made them on her day off, Sunday, and had been teaching Laura Suarez how to embroider a tortilla warmer. She also sold lotions and perfumes for JAFRA—a multilevel marketing company along the lines of Amway—to other women on the assembly line. By 2007 a three-year veteran of Planta Maytag III, Flora continued to believe that her girls had a better chance in Reynosa than in Tierra Blanca. In any case, there was no looking back. Production had recently intensified at the refrigerator factory. They were working on a big order to ship across the Rio Grande to Home Depot. The feeling in the plant was one of utter exhaustion, Flora said. They had been producing mountains of scrap as a result. By this point Flora despised Maytag, but she hated scrap more. It was demoralizing, a sign of a collective failure. The Mexican refrigerator makers felt the same weird devotion to production that Galesburg workers displayed even in the final days of production there. At the end of good days, days when the lines ran continuously and little scrap was produced, they’d congratulate one another and go home a little happier. For weeks Flora had often been on her feet until 7:45 p.m. in steel-toed shoes, performing the same tasks over and over again. She had learned thirteen jobs at Planta III, all of them tedious, some of them hard. Overtime bonuses, her paystubs revealed, inflated her average hourly take-home pay to as high as $1.80 an hour, though it was more typical for her to earn around $1.35 in 2007.

Keywords:   Black & Decker, CANACINTRA Reynosa, Delphi Automotive Services, General Motors, Halloween, Panasonic, Whirlpool, Zenith, federales

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