Labor Rights

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Did you know that more than a million women that work in the textile and artisan manufacturing industry receive 5.7 pesos by the hour, in comparison to the 10 pesos by the hour that the males receive as a salary for the same job?*

Hence, Semillas supports local organizations that defend and promote the rights of working women in assembly factories (maquilas) and domestic work.

The following organizations are funded by Semillas to aid domestic workers, and in the maquila industry, to overcome the difficulties they encounter when trying to achieve dignified labor conditions.

*Data from: CIMACNoticias. “Pierden derechos laborales más de un millón de costureras informales” en:, enero, 2005.

Campaña Trabajo Digno, Derechos de las Mujeres

Campaign for Dignified Work, Women’s Rights

The Campaign for Dignified Work, Women’s Rights brings labor unions comprised of women factory and domestic workers in Cuahuila, Nuevo León, Durango, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico City together in a network that allows them to advance, to strengthen the acknowledgement of women’s work and to create respect for their rights. This initiative, with the support of the Commission of Human Rights and Work Secretary in Mexico City, looks to position the theme of women’s labor rights in the political agenda. The campaign gives regional workshops, holds days of information dissemination, lobbies authorities in order to get measures ratified which will improve the position of women factory and domestic workers and develops informational materials so that more and more women workers can learn their rights and are able to exercise them.

Centro de Apoyo y Capacitación para Empleadas del Hogar, A.C. Distrito Federal.

Support and Training Center for Domestic Workers – CACEH

According to the National Survey of Occupation and Employment in Mexico, there are more than 2.3 million domestic workers in Mexico, 90% of which are women. Due to the lack of knowledge of their rights, they are habitually subjected to abusive labor relationships and discriminations due to their social status. The project Learning together the ABCs of Domestic Worker’s Labor Rights will develop
workshops in which 1100 women will be trained to recognize and defend their labor rights. CACEH will also put together a series of six informative booklets about domestic workers’ labor rights and will launch a campaign to raise awareness about the rights and obligations of domestic workers and their employers. One of the fundamental components that this project is working to achieve is for the State of Mexico to ratify the ILO 189 treaty 189, which requires that the State takes measures to ensure that dignified work is a reality for domestic workers.

Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador, A.C (CAT) – Morelos

The Center for the Support of Workers has spent more than ten years offering trainings and organizational and legal advice regarding labor rights to the workers of Puebla and Tlaxcala. Due to the threats and hostility that their members have suffered because of their work, the CAT has had to relocate to Morelos in order to continue their work. The project, Defenders in Action aims, through interviews with different people in the social and labor fields, to develop a profile of the situation of labor rights in the state that would permit them to better understand the situation of laborers in the automotive sector. With the information from this study, they will train promoters that will be responsible for spreading their knowledge about labor rights to the rest of the workers in that sector.

Centro de Apoyo a Trabajadoras de la Maquila en La Laguna AC. Coahuila

According to the diagnosis of the Women’s Labor Market Incorporation which carried out a study in Coahuila through the SubcontractingAgencies, only 44% of women workers receive benefits in accordance with the law, while the other 56% do not have their labor rights respected. 45% of the women continue to occupy positions that involve tasks including serving and waiting, which reproduce gender roles. Women are not represented in management-level positions and therefore suffer systemic discrimination, as well. The project Strengthening Women in Defense of their Labor Rights looks to educate the women workers of Torreón about their labor rights through trainings and providing information about the new Federal Labor Law reforms, hourly pay, casual labor, temporary hiring processes, the freedom to form labor unions and the right to stable employment. CTRAMAC was created in 2007 and has ample experience in training others about labor rights, gender, hygiene and health in the workplace.

Centro de Estudios y Taller Laboral, AC – Chihuahua

Center for Studies and Labor Workshop – CETLAC

CETLAC is a non-profit, civil service organization that opened its doors in Ciudad Juarez in 1996. It is a part of the Authentic Work Front, a national organization of workers that fights for the creation of an autonomous, democratic and sefsustaining society. Their mission is to work to improve the living conditions of the workers through the promotion and defense of their labor rights. They provide training sessions and legal advice as well as systemize any violations. Defense of the Labor Rights of Women in Juarez City is the project at the center, which looks to strengthen gender equality amongst its affiliates and form a team that effectively promotes workers’ rights in the region. This organization acts as a center for information that has served groups of professors, students, union members, the media and other organizations as a reference, especially in relation to the situation of women factory workers. It has motivated the creation of alliances at a local, national and international level.

Colectivo de Empleadas Domésticas de los Altos de Chiapas. Chiapas

Domestic Workers’ Collective of Chiapas – CEDACHA

The domestic workers that work in San Cristóbal de las Casas come from disadvantaged backgrounds at the social, educational and economic level that have made them vulnerable to the abuses of their employers. In a survey conducted by this organization about domestic employees in the city, 73% of them reported that they have never received an end-of-year bonus, 86% are not given any vacation time and 90% have had to work on mandatory days off. Through the project Organizers Raise our Voices: CEDACH Contributes to Domestic Workers in Chiapas’ Fight for Legitimacy, this collective looks to strengthen its organizational structure. At the same time, it aims to continue improving the training of its members and helping to form literate group promoters who understand labor rights and can help other domestic workers and contribute to changing their situations of marginalization and exploitation. Other objectives of the project include compiling information obtained in interviews, workshops and meetings so as to be able to distribute and share the experiences of CEDACH with other organizations, domestic workers and women’s rights activists.

Colectivo de Obreras Insumisas, A.C. Puebla

Collective of Untamed Workers

Respiratory illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, chronic cough and eye strain are conditions that commonly affect the women workers of the textile factory industry. Additionally, they experience muscular problems, speech problems and arm and back pain that are caused by the long working days that are usually between 10 and 12 hours. Aside from physical health concerns, these conditions have psychological and emotional repercussions in these women’s lives. With the project Looking for Labor Health for Workers, this collective works with women factory workers in Tehuacán, giving them necessary information and tools so that they can become promoters of labor health in their places of work. They are also making an informative booklet to distribute freely inside the factories and generating the support of students and health professionals.

Colectivo Ollin Calli. Baja California

Ollin Calli Collective

Colectivo Ollin Calli is an organization whose goal is for women factory workers to learn about and be able to exercise their labor rights. The project Workers Fighting for Labor Justice and a Dignified Life aims at strengthening a team of lawyers who give legal advice to the workers, as well as promoting and accompanying the organizational processes of the workers themselves. It also looks to create support systems with its sister organizations in the Tijuana-San Diego region, which strengthen the work to defend the dignity of workers and promote respect for labor rights. The collective also works in the areas of economic autonomy and commercial justice and has programs that focus on the environment.

Colectivo Raíz de Aguascalientes, A.C. Aguascalientes

Root Collective of Aguascalientes

The Colectivo Raíz de Aguascalientes works for the labor rights of women factory workers. One of the aspects of working life that affects them the most, in both the short and the long term, is the deterioration of their health due to the conditions and locations in which they must work. The project Raising a Hand to Those Who Cause Physical Harm aims to raise awareness amongst women working in dress factories in Aquascalientes about the relation that exists between the conditions under which they work and the series of symptoms and pains that had been afflicting them both while they are working as well as during other activities of their daily lives. This collective trains health promoters and strengthens the participation and leadership of women so that they can take action and make changes in an organized manner, taking into account their current health conditions created by their work.

Red de Mujeres Sindicalistas, A.C. – Distrito Federal

Women’s Union Network - Mexico City

The Women’s Union Network began in 1997. It is formed by women workers that belong to diverse unions in Mexico, who strengthen and promote the leadership and participation of the women workers in positions of power within the unions.Their objective is to promote a respect for labor rights and unions as well as to provide training and an exchange of knowledge from a gender perspective. With the support of Semillas, the Network has strengthened its financial strategies and is looking to expand its resources to ensure future stability. At the same time, it is in the process of developing its web page in order to increase its reach and improve its strategies of disseminating educational materials.

Red de Mujeres Empleadas del Hogar, A.C. Guerrero

Network of Women Domestic Workers

In Guerrero, the number of domestic workers is rising every day, creating a large group of women that regularly suffer violations of their human and labor rights. The schedules and the workloads that are imposed on them keep them separated, isolated, disorganized and completely without knowledge of their most fundamental rights. With the project Joining and Strengthening the Committees of Municipal Promoters of the Organization of Domestic Workers in the Central Region of Guerrero, the Red de Empleadas del Hogar works to increase and push forward the labor rights of domestic workers in the regions of Chilpancingo, Tixtla, Mártir de Culiapan and Chilapa de Álvarez. Through meetings, workshops and establishing support houses, it will weave alliances with key actors which will ultimately allow the domestic workers to have the same rights as any other worker.

Rosas y Espinas, Derechos de las Mujeres, S.C. Coahuila

Roses and Thorns, Women’s Rights

Although in terms of the labor law, men and women are equals, in practice, women suffer constant violations of their rights while working. For example, women receive less pay for the same work as men and suffer violence and discrimination from within their families. Additionally, in Coahuila there are no individual advocates that can defend their rights as factory workers. Understanding More, Better Exercising Our Rights is a project that looks to help eradicate the violation of workers’ rights in Saltillo and Ramos Arizpe, as well as to provide information about the recent modifications of the Federal Labor Law and promote the ratification of ILO agreements 156, 183 and 180 in order to make improvements in issues of labor rights. The organization, created in 2010, also offers legal support for labor rights issues to those who solicit it.

SEDEPAC Frontera Norte, A.C. Coahuila

In factories, women make up 80% of the workforce and men make up 20%. This is due to the large rate of men migrating to the United States. The women that remain in Mexico generally live in a situation of poverty and are forced to work in factories for very little pay with grueling work schedules and without fixed contracts that last more than three months. With the project Women Workers Building Labor Equality and Justice in Cuahuila, SEDEPAC informed, visited and trained both male and female factory workers, raising awareness and promoting among them the concept of working in solidarity with one another for labor rights without a gender distinction.


Tzome Ixuk, Mujeres Organizadas, A.C. Chiapas

Tzome Ixuk, Organized Women

The labor rights of indigenous women in Chiapas are oftentimes not respected. Due to the difficult economic situation in the region, many women migrate to state capitols, nearby cities or other states in Mexico in order to join the sector of domestic workers, in which they are constantly mistreated and abused due to their lack of knowledge of their rights. With the project, Oj neb’tik t’un mas ja jderechotik b’a kateltiki: Strengthening Our Knowledge of Our Labor Rights they are building a Citizen Observatory for Labor Rights. They are also training promoters to provide information and advice to the population of Las Margaritas about labor rights issues and organizing to participate in forums and workshops that teach domestic workers about their rights.


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