How global auto parts corporations profit by exploiting Mexican workers


The economics of the North American auto industry

How global auto parts corporations profit by exploiting Mexican workers

Shannon Jones

2 February 2019

The massive strikes by maquiladora workers in Matamoros, Mexico, have brought to public light the highly exploitive conditions faced by those laboring for global auto parts makers and other manufacturing industries along the US-Mexican border.

There are 345 “Tier 1” auto suppliers with a presence in Mexico, according to a recent report by ProMexico, an organization set up by the Mexican government to promote international trade and development. Some 65 percent in direct investment in Mexico is in auto-supply-related industries.

The profits extracted off the backs of Mexican workers are a source of enormous enrichment for stockholders and CEOs of the transnational auto parts suppliers, many of them based near Detroit, Michigan.

Auto parts production in Mexico is closely integrated with the global car market, with many of the parts made in Matamoros and other cities shipped to the US. The border crossing at Brownsville, Texas, handled trade worth $14.7 billion in 2017. Auto parts are Mexico’s second leading export, behind petroleum.

The following are profiles of just a few of the multinationals and leading personalities involved in auto parts production in Mexico.

Aurora, Ontario-based Magna is the world’s fifth largest auto parts manufacturer, with $39 billion in sales in 2017 and pre-tax income of $3 billion. It recently opened a plant in Querétaro, Mexico, to manufacture molded and exterior parts. It employs some 24,000 workers in Mexico at 30 different facilities including in Matamoros.

Don Walker, Magna CEO, is one of the most heavily compensated executives in Canada, with $20.4 million in salary. In…

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