U.S.-Mexico Trade:

Information on Wages, Fringe Benefits, and Workers' Rights

NSIAD-91-220: Published: May 10, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Mexico's labor practices under the Mexican maquiladora program, designed to generate economic development and employment along its northern border by attracting subassembly operations, focusing on: (1) the comparison between U.S. and Mexican employees' wages and fringe benefits; and (2) workers' rights under Mexican law.

GAO found that: (1) in 1989, Mexican production workers' average wage rate, including fringe benefits, was $1.39 per hour, and U.S. production workers' average wage rate was $14.31 per hour; (2) according to the Department of Labor, both the United States and Mexico provided specific, legally required fringe benefits to their workers, such as social security and workers' compensation, with maquiladora employers providing such additional fringe benefits as subsidized meals and free transportation; and (3) according to the Departments of State and Labor, a 1970 Mexican federal labor law and its subsequent amendments guaranteed Mexican workers' rights.

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