Tracking the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mexican Maquila Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in Mexico in late March, threatening the lives and livelihoods of workers and communities throughout the country, and including in maquiladora assembly factories on Mexico’s northern border with the United States.

On March 30, the Mexican government declared a sanitary emergency and a suspension of production and services. It later released a list of economic activities deemed to be essential that could continue to operate during the emergency period.

Despite not being designated essential services, many maquila factories continued manufacturing products for export to the US, putting workers’ health at risk and, exposing many to the virus. Workers had to choose between unemployment and working in unsafe conditions.

On May 18, in response to growing pressure from US manufacturers and the US government to make it legal for Mexican factories involved in supply chains to reopen, the Mexico government announced that auto and aerospace manufacturing, as well as mining, industrial construction and railway sectors, would be deemed essential services.

Over the next few months, the consequences of that decision for maquila workers and their communities will become apparent.                                                                                                                                                 

MSN is working with labour and women’s rights organizations to track the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on maquila workers, as well as the actions of companies and public authorities throughout the crisis.

On this page, MSN will post government announcements and resources related to the sanitary emergency, updated information on the impacts of the health and economic crisis on workers in the maquila sector, and testimonies of workers and labour rights organizations that are fighting injustices on the ground.

Below, find up-to-date information in Spanish on the COVID-19 crisis in Mexico and how it is impacting workers:

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