Martha Ojeda

Martha Ojeda

Martha Ojeda
Executive Director

Martha was born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, (border with Laredo, Texas.) She was part of the first generation of women working in the Border Industrialization’s Program, which resulted in the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Martha worked for 20 years in the maquiladora industry (sweatshops) in her hometown.

In April of 1994, Martha led the Sony Workers’ movement to improve their working conditions. The workers were beaten and brutally repressed by police forces. Thousands of women took the streets demanding their rights and trade unionism. The government orders arresting Martha for enforcing their labor and civil rights. Marta immigrated to the U.S. to escape unfounded persecution by the Mexican government. She found the support of the international solidarity.

The Sony workers’ case was the first case brought against the government of Mexico under the National Administrative Department of Labor of the United States, site of the Side Agreements on Labor Cooperation of North America; international body created by the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA,) to settle labor disputes. Martha has a Law degree from The University of Saltillo, Coahuila and the Centre for University Studies in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

While her legal case to return to her country was ongoing, she worked in a hotel and in two plastic factories in San Antonio, Texas, while students of San Antonio, Texas’ Law School supported her to clarify the charges against her and prosecute justice and political asylum. In 1996, Ojeda became the Executive Director of the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras. Ojeda has been speaker at the United Nations, and international conferences and forums. In 2001, Ojeda received the "Petra Foundation Fellow Award" in Washington, DC. In 1999, Martha was also recognized on Mother Jones magazine in the U.S., In 2007, Ojeda received the Medal Award "Emilio Krieger" by the National Association of Democratic Lawyers of Mexico City in recognition of her labor and social activism.