In the 11 years since she moved to the city, she had welded circuitry for Asian and European cell phone companies, assembled tubing for medical IV units to be shipped over the border to the United States, and worked on a production line assembling air conditioners for General Motors.
This was her second month at HD Electronics, a South Korean firm that had moved to Reynosa in 2006 to produce the metal backing for flat-screen televisions made by another South Korean firm, LG Electronics—a billion corporation.
It was Saturday night, and, as usual, Rosa Moreno was getting ready to work the night shift at the factory. 19, 2011, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong, a premonition that perhaps she shouldn’t go. It was the final shift in her six-day workweek, and if she missed a day, the factory would dock her 300 pesos. Her family already struggled to survive on the 1,300 pesos (about 0) a week she earned. Rosa kissed her six children goodnight and set out across town. at a factory called HD Electronics in a sprawling maquiladora park near the international bridge that links Reynosa, an industrial city of 600,000, to Pharr, Texas.
Unable to shake the bad feeling, she’d already missed her bus, and now she’d have to pay for a taxi. In the Mexican border city of Reynosa, the hundreds of maquiladoras that produce everything from car parts to flat-screen televisions run day and night—365 days a year—to feed global demand. Like the 90,000 or more workers in Reynosa, the 38-year-old Rosa depended on these factories for her livelihood.
Every night, six days a week, she fed the massive machine thin aluminum sheets. Each time the press closed it sounded like a giant hammer striking metal: thwack, thwack, thwack.
The metal sheets emerged pierced and molded into shape for each model and size of television.
At the factory, 20 women, including Rosa, worked the presses to make the pieces for the smaller televisions.
At HD Electronics, Rosa operated a 200-ton hydraulic stamping press.And now she was always at work, or tired or stressed about money.