For Immediate Release: July 7, 2020
Contact: Matthew Groch, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 454-5111
Mexican Labor Activist Susana Prieto, on Eve of Possible Reimprisonment, and U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) Call on Mexican President AMLO and President Trump to Remedy Ongoing Worker Abuses and Low Wages
Celebration of New NAFTA Premature: It Won’t Help Workers Absent Action to Translate the Labor Rights in the Text into Change on the Ground
WHAT: On Weds., July 8th at 11 a.m. EDT/10 a.m. CDT, Mexican labor activist Susana Prieto will be joined by U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) to demand an end to ongoing labor abuses that undercut the U.S. and Mexican presidents’ celebration tomorrow of the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Prieto, a prominent labor lawyer representing exploited workers in Mexico-Texas border maquiladora factories, was released on July 1 after being held without bail for three weeks on trumped-up charges of “mutiny, threats and coercion” after trying to register an independent union to replace a corrupt “protection” union.
Her case reflects myriad labor abuses throughout Mexico, where workers fighting for independent unions, better wages and COVID-19-safe workplaces face ongoing abuse and resistance. The conditions for Prieto’s release, including a 30-month internal exile, are designed to end her representation of Matamoros workers seeking independent unions and intimidate workers nationwide seeking to exercise their labor rights. She must end her Matamoros labor organizing, not leave Mexico, and relocate to the state of Chihuahua, where a prosecutor issued new warrants for her arrest. Prieto helped workers win higher wages last year while fighting for independent labor representation that the new NAFTA is supposed to promote. Recently she helped workers demand COVID-19 safety protections after many died from workplace coronavirus exposures. After decades of worker intimidation, Mexican manufacturing wages are now 40% lower than those in China. More background on Prieto is available, here.
WHEN: 11 a.m. EDT/10 a.m. CDT/9 a.m. Juarez time, Weds., July 8
WHO: Susana Prieto Terrazas, Mexican labor lawyer
U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.)
Lori Wallach, director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch (moderator)
WHERE: To register for the press conference: https://cutt.ly/koN4s49
(You must register in advance to get the zoom link for the event)