Voices of Hope

La Mujer Obrera, Transnationalism, and NAFTA-Displaced Women Workers in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands
  • Sharon A. Navarro


On June 11, 1997, a group of Mexican American women blocked the Zaragoza International Port of Entry—one of El Paso’s busiest commercial bridges with Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. By stretching a rope across the border crossings street entrance, the women successfully stopped traffic for more than an hour. The protestors were organized by La Mujer Obrera (the Working Woman) (LMO), an independent organization of Mexican immigrant women workers from the El Paso garment industry. Prior to the passage of NAFTA, jobs in El Paso’s manufacturing had been largely held by Mexican American women, many of whom originally migrated from Mexico in search of a better life. As a result of NAFTA’s trading and commerce policies, however, El Paso factories began moving across the border, and the Mexican American female labor force was replaced by Mexican women maquiladora workers. The women hoped that their action on the border would bring the plight of NAFTA-displaced workers to the attention of Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin, then the head of the federal department responsible for a variety of NAFTA programs. But instead of being able to meet with him, his representative, or other state or local authorities, protesters were arrested and charged with obstructing highway commerce.


Personal Interview Woman Worker Official Union Displace Worker Border City 
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Las Voces de Esperanza


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Copyright information

© Claudia Sadowski-Smith 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon A. Navarro

There are no affiliations available

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