Linking Trade, Work, and Migration

Globalization and NAFTA Caused Migration from Mexico

By David Bacon, Political Research Associates

Immigrant Oaxacan Farm Worker and Weaver, and her Family

Rufino Domínguez, the former coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, who now heads the Oaxacan Institute for Attention to Migrants, estimates that there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S., 300,000 in California alone.1 [1]

In Oaxaca, some towns have become depopulated, or are now made up of only communities of the very old and very young, where most working-age people have left to work in the north. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are now uprooting and displacing these Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where people still speak languages (such as Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui) that were old [2] when Columbus arrived from Spain.2 [3] “There are no jobs, and NAFTA forced the price of corn so low that it’s not economically possible to plant a crop anymore,” Dominguez says. “We come to the U.S. to work because we can’t get a price for our product at home. There’s no alternative.” Continue reading

Koch Brothers provide $ to pass California Proposition 32

By Duane Campbell

Many in labor believe that California Proposition 32 would be a near fatal blow to the California labor movement.

On the grounds that “special interests have too much power over government,”  conservative attorneys  wrote   California Proposition 32 to   ban direct contributions to California candidates by corporations and labor unions. It prohibits the collection of “political funds” from corporate employees and union members via payroll deduction, even if the employee or member voluntarily approves. Political funds include money spent for or against a candidate or ballot measure or for a party or political action committee, or PAC.

The proposition prohibits corporations and unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes, but of course corporations don’t use payroll deductions; they use their profits.  So, corporate donations would not be banned. Only unions would be affected by this ban.  It is a political bait and switch.  The proposition pretends to ban political contributions from both corporations and labor, and then they exempted the corporations.

If Proposition 32 passes, unions would lose much of their ability to organize and to fight back in politics. Learn more at http://www.stopspecialexemptions.org Continue reading