A year ago 450 workers and families in Goshen were distressed by the news during Christmas that Cequent Performance Products was closing and moving to Mexico. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. NAFTA opened the markets and competition started. The U.S., with a surplus of corn took over the Mexican corn market. More than 6 million farmers were displaced. Corn farmers in Mexico ended up in urban places looking for jobs. Canadian and U.S. factories started to move to Mexico; taking advantage of the new cheap available labor, no tariffs, and low or no environmental laws.
Today, thousands of factories have been relocated along the Mexico-U.S. border. The surplus of farmers who could not find jobs in Mexican-based factories heard of U.S. factories and farms looking for foreign workers (cheap labor) to be able to compete in an open market. A factory worker here earns between $9 to $20/hr, while in Mexico $6 to $10/day. Migration to the north increased several fold since 1994. Consequently, our communities are left with all the messy-abrasive-unresolved immigration issues which this brings.
The U.S. continues to sign trade agreements with cheap labor countries and jobs continue to move farther south. Targets are countries like Haiti, where factory workers are making $5 a day. On Nov. 20, Cequent announced a new business move to Brazil. Meanwhile, in Michiana, we continue to struggle with jobs. Politicians promise jobs every election; jobs that keep moving south. Maybe Cequent’s move did not affect you last Christmas, and you did not talk to Michiana legislators last year. Perhaps your next visit to our legislators’ offices will be because your job crossed the border, and you will know why — free trade agreements.
— Saulo Padilla
New walks not plowed
Goshen Community Schools decided to save money this year by having students walk to school. It appears that they are saving even more money by not plowing the sidewalks that were installed. The half mile plus from Prarieview Elementary to Broadview subdivision is currently (Tuesday) blessed with 8 to10 inches of snow.
— Craig Showalter