ANDERSON SI COMPANY COFFEE TEA SPICES TWO .JEFFERSON SQUARE AUSTIN, TEXAS ‘78731 512 453-1533 Send me your list. Name Street City Zip PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! Were proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours. Call us for quality printing, binding, mailing and ‘data processing services. Get to knoW* the people at Futura’.. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC. JOURNAL General Motors Grows in Mexico Brownsville By the time General Motors CEO Robert Stempel scheduled a press conference on December 18, it was only to confirm what many already knew: ‘America’s largest car maker was preparing to strip itself down to the chassis. Since 1985, General Motors’ North American operation had earned only marginal profits and more recently industry analysts estimated that the company was losing about $500 a month in the U.S. and Canada. Already, the world’s largest car maker had cut its work force from 600,000 in 1985 to 400,000 last year. And the streamlining wasn’t over. In December, Stempel announced that 74,000 jobs and 21 plants in the United States would also go, and, that the company would impose a hiring freeze. That’s why GM workers were surprised to learn only a month later that one of their company’s subsidiaries in the Mexican border city of Reynosa was hiring 3,000 new workers. The workers were hired at a Mexican plant that makes stereos. for GM automobiles. “We’re not in the automobile business,” said Marilyn Grant,assistant director of public affairs for Delco Electronics, a major GM subsidiary that operates plants in the United States, England, Singapore,and Mexico. “We really don’t expect the Delco facilities to be affected by [the GM] cutbacks.” However, Grant said, Delco is “very dependent on vehicle volume.” GM, she also added, accounts for about 90 percent of Delco’s sales. David Perdue, president of the United Texas, said he thinks that it’s odd that Delco is expanding while GM is stripping down sits automotive operations. AlthOugh Delco is an autonomous company, Grant said that its success is directly: linked to that of its parent company, General Motors. It appeared that GM’s expansion of its Mexican operation could only strengthen UAW opposition to President Bush’s proposed North American Free Trade Agreement. Since free .-trade negotiations between the U.S. and Mexico began last year, the UAW has been one of the most vocal opponents of the trade pact, which if approved by Congress will eliminate, tariffs on goods cross. ing the Canadian, U.S., and Mexican borders – and, thus, make it even easier for U.S. manufac . turers to move their operations to Mexico. U.S. automotive workers fear that free trade with a company with a wage scale as low as’ Mexico’s will begin a huge southward emigration of U.S. manufacturing jobs. The American President, meanwhile, said he is pursuing the treaty to reestablish the competitiveness of U.S. goods in the global marketplace. According to Bush,’ using Mexican workers for labor-intensive lobs will lower costs for U.S. companies and and therefore make U.S. exports more appealing. Workers at Delco’s Mexican plant earn $7 per day, compared to, Perdue said, $17 per hour that U.S. automotive workers take home. In this fight for jobs, most UAW members see Mexican workers as their adversaries. While Mexicans line up for new jobs, Americans wait uneasily for the next plant closing. But now, some have recognized a common interest between workers in the UAW-organized plant at Arlington and GM subsidiary workers in Reynosa. Because for GM workers in Arlington, the home of the only vehicle assembly plant in the state, GM’s growing presence in Mexico could insure auto-industry jobs in Texas. “It’s ironic that something we lobbied against could come back to help us, Perdue said, adding that the Arlington plant’s proximity to Mexico could mean the difference in surviving GM’s overhaul. Though GM has not yet announced which of its U.S. plants will be shut down, Stempel has said that either the Arlington or Ypsilanti, Mich., plant will have to close its doors. The Arlington plant is the only GM site where both the Cadillac Brougham and the Buick Roadmaster are assembled, while both Arlington and Ypsilanti are the only two plants that assemble the Chevrolet Caprice. Stempel said all three of these models have suffered from sagging demand. “A lot of the parts we use in Arlington come out of Mexico,” Perdue said. “And it’s possible that GM could move other component manufacturing there.” According to Perdue, most electronic components, such as door locks, heating and cooling controls, and car stereos are made in Mexico. Delco currently employs 8,500 workers in Reynosa and Matamoros, in the lower Rio Grande Valley. The more the Arlington plant depends on Mexico for parts, the more likely it is that GM will keep the plant open. Perdue expects Stempel to announce soon which plants will close. Meanwhile, some Arlington workers are’ hoping their proximity to Mexico will keep ‘them working, while other U.S. plants are shut down. “It’s kind of a bitter-sweet situation for us,” Perdue said. John Weimer is a reporter for the Monitor, in McAllen, Texas. International Women’s Day An eight-day festival, with more than a dozen cultural groups, will honor women in connection with International Women’s in New York City against working conditions and pushing for the right to vote. A One World Family Concert and Dinner at Parkside Community School starts the festival on March 1 in keeping with this year’s theme of “Education.” A symposium, “New Perspectives on Women and Violence,” sponsored by the Texas Journal of Women and the Law and the University of Texas Law School, will be presented March 6-7. The Plain View Press Festival of Words, March 6-8, will present the work of more than 18 writers at the Women and Their Work Gallery. La Pena and the Grassroots Peace Organization will sponor a forum on women artists at Las Manitas Avenue Cafe 6-9 p.m. March 6. Poetry in the Arts, in its ninth year, will present a reading March 7 at the Austin History Center featuring the poetry of Katie Brown and Maxine Kohanski and an art exhibit by Jo Ann Durham. Other events include the La Petla International Women’s Day Art Exhibit at Las Manitas Avenue Cafe and an exhibit at Women and Their Work of art by Tracie Stogie. A second One World Family Dinner on March 8, hosted by Shamaan Ochaum at Hancock Recreation Center, will focus attention on the need for understanding and communication. For more information see Women’s Way, 1992 , or call 512-441-2452. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23
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