Thousands of workers strike in Mexico, win wage hike

By Seth Galinsky
March 4, 2019

More than 25,000 workers at 45 factories — mostly foreign-owned auto- and electrical-parts plants — in Matamoros, Mexico, near the U.S. border ended a rolling strike Feb. 11 after winning a 20 percent wage increase plus a one-time bonus of about $1,700. The strike began Jan. 25. Above, strikers at Jan. 31 rally.

Newly elected Mexican President Manuel López Obrador had recently increased the daily minimum wage in border areas to the equivalent of $9.13 a day. Seeing this increase, workers walked out demanding an across-the-board raise for everyone.

Even before the ink was dried on the deal, some bosses began to take reprisals. According to La Jornada, companies have since fired 1,500 workers, claiming they can’t afford to pay the higher wages.

But threats by the companies to shut down haven’t deterred other workers inspired by the victory. Workers at a Coca-Cola bottling plant and other workplaces have followed suit, going on strike for higher wages.