In an example of how grassroots activism is substituting for official workplace safety enforcement, workers at the Key Safety Systems plant in Valle Hermosa, Mexico are currently waging a campaign for better working conditions.


Key Safety Systems is a Michigan-based global manufacturer of airbags and other auto safety products. Issues include what workers call poverty wages, exposure to toxics without adequate safety equipment, limited access to broken-down bathrooms, and more in a series of violations of labor law and human rights.


A presentation is being given today in Oakland, Calif., to attract media and public attention to the workers’ efforts. Participants include Perla Cruz, Key Safety Systems Worker- Valle Hermoso, and Israel Monroy, Key Safety Systems Worker- Valle Hermoso.


This is the type of pressure being applied to multinationals around the world when in-country safety and health regulations are absent, labor laws weak, or existing rules not enforced.


Sponsors of the Oakland meetings include The Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, the Laney College Department of Labor Studies, and the Education Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area Industrial Workers of the World.

Sponsors sent emails this morning including these comments:


“Concerned about U.S. corporations exploiting workers in the Global South to maximize profits? Interested in cross-border solidarity to counter the ravages of NAFTA?

”Then don't miss an opportunity to hear first-hand from two maquiladora workers on their struggle for justice against Key Safety Systems.

” The worker delegation is very eager to meet U.S.-based allies so please do come and discuss the ravages of corporate ‘free trade’ with three courageous individuals who are waging a compelling struggle for justice across borders.”