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El Golpe: U.S. Labor the CIA and the Coup at Ford in Mexico

The activists reported for work on January 8, expecting trouble.

When reporting for work at the beginning of a shift, workers in a

Ford assembly plant first go to a small coverall locker to retrieve

a clean pair of coveralls. That morning ten leaders of the January

5 work stoppage found that the locks on these lockers had been

changed, preventing them from getting coveralls. A notice was posted

on each of their lockers telling them to report to the locksmith to

be assigned new ones. When they approached the locksmith, they

could see unusual characters loitering in the area. All but one of

them decided to go directly to their workstations. That unfortunate

worker was beaten.57

When the rest of the workforce arrived for the morning shift on

January 8, they found 300 strangers on the assembly lines. These

were easily identifiable as not being genuine Ford employees because

they wore tennis shoes instead of the required leather shoes, and they

were wearing the Ford ID badges around their necks. Ford employees

would keep them in their pockets so they wouldn't get caught on

things, come loose, and be lost. Many of the golpeadores were drunk

or on drugs. The intruders immediately started to harass and intimidate

the workers. The leaders had prepared for this event, and the

workers picked up tools and organized themselves to fight back. The

workers knew the plant and outmaneuvered the golpeadores, who felt

cornered, took out their guns, and opened fire. A voice came over

the company loudspeaker, telling the workers to do as they were

told.58 Escobar Briones remembers the voice on the loudspeaker

saying, "Do not run; those are only blanks."59 Nine workers would

go down wounded, one of them fatally.