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The Institute for Labor Studies has sponsored since 1996 several conferences on NAFTA, the I-35 Corridor, and Building International Labor Solidarity. It also serves as a resource for area unions, the Greater Kansas City Fair Trade Coalition, and The Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity and ILS Director, Judy Ancel, has developed particular expertise in issues relating to the maquiladoras and maquiladora workers in Mexico.

Reports on international labor and political issues

The Lethal Arms of the U.S. Drug War in Honduras. America’s Program and Counterpunch April, 2016

Crossing the Border to Cananea

In 2010 a group of labor educators, union staff and students went to Cananea Sonora, Mexico to investigate the ongoing copper strike by Los Mineros Union. They produced a report and video for presentation at the 2011 United Association of Labor Education Conference. The video and report are called Crossing the Border to Cananea High Stakes and Teachable Moments for North American Workers

 Highlights include:

  • The origins of the Cananea strike and the downward pressure on labor rights in Mexico

  • The corporate shape shifting and global reach of Grupo Mexico which holds the Cananea mine concession

  • Interviews with leaders of Section 65 of the Miners union and with community members showing the inspirational resistance to government and corporate attempts to destroy their way of life

  • Health and environmental dangers which span the border

  • The growth of worldwide solidarity and the significance of the strike and solidarity with Cananea for all North American workers

  • An appendix of resources and documents including ready-made lesson plans for worker education

To download the report and video:

UMKC and Big Wheel in Cananea Mine
UMKC visitors to Cananea mine

Honduras Under the Coup

HondurasIn 2009, ILS Director Judy Ancel joined a Global Exchange human rights delegation to Honduras to observe the effects of  the coup against President Manuel Zelaya. The group met with union leaders active in the Resistance, with Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, wife of the deposed president and The with U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens. The group also witnessed violent repression of peaceful demonstrators in the streets.
See the



Reports on the impact of "free" trade 

  • The High Cost to Kansas of "Free" Trade: Trade-Related Job Loss in Kansas and the Third Congressional District, May 9, 2005. A Report authored by The Institute for Labor Studies on the impact of free trade agreements on jobs and the economy.
  • Offshoring the Missouri Economy: Free Trade Job Losses and Their Impact on Missouri Workers, September 1, 2004. A report authored by The Institute for Labor Studies detailing the trade-related job losses in Missouri and their effect on depressing the standard of living.
  • Living on a Maquila Wage is a short group role-play aimed at learning the difficulty of being a minimum wage worker for a multinational corporation in Mexico.
  • NAFTA and Fast Track remarks by ILS Director Judy Ancel to Town Hall Meeting and debate hosted by Congressman Dennis Moore August 30, 2001.
  • Myths of Free Trade a pamphlet on Mexican labor rights under NAFTA.

There are many useful websites to learn about the global economy:

Links on International Labor Issues and Globalization

Economics from local to global

Trade Agreements and Their Results

Mexico NAFTA and the Maquiladoras

International Labor Rights and Solidarity Organizations


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last updated Friday, October 12, 2007
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