Allies Across the Border: Mexico's ""Authentic Labor Front"" and Global Solidarity

Dale A. Hathaway, Author
Dale A. Hathaway, Author South End Press $19 (267p) ISBN 978-0-89608-632-6
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
""What's good for a Ford worker in Detroit must also be good for a worker in South Africa. And it must be good for a Ford worker in Hermosillo, Mexico,"" says one of the many voices Butler University political scientist Hathaway (Can Workers Have a Voice?) marshals in this groundbreaking study. Since the mid-1970s, Hathaway begins, corporations have been less tied to particular nations, shifting production to take advantage of cheaper labor and lax regulations in the developing world, a phenomenon commonly called globalism. Plants in Mexico controlled by familiar corporations, Hathaway shows, can harbor conditions ranging from unsafe to toxic and deadly, as real wages there have fallen. After chapters on the development of the Authentic Labor Front, which arose in 1960 and goes by the Spanish acronym FAT, the last third of the book shows how the union has recently sought out labor movements from North America, pushing in innovative and effective ways for mutually beneficial policies. Throughout, Hathaway places the union in a global context, carefully tracing the many strands of international commerce and law that converge in FAT's membership's factories. This book stands firm against the corporate hagiographies currently clogging the shelves; its clear, careful tracking of actual plant conditions and labor practices, rendered evenly--if sympathetically to workers' plight--should convince even hardened union skeptics to consider the other side's claims. (Jan.)