Solidarität

RESOLUTION

Support the right of Jorge Parra, President of the injured Colombian GM workers’ association (ASOTRECOL), to travel to the USA to tell their story, by demanding the immediate reinstatement of his visa.

Whereas:

  1. General Motors engages in unfair and unlawful labor practices in countries around the world – in Brazil, India, Colombia and elsewhere, routinely firing workers who suffer disabling injuries on the job and thereby maximizing its profits at the expense of workers;
  2. GM’s flagrant abuses abroad undermine U.S. autoworkers’ ability to prevent these practices here domestically, on the threat of losing their jobs to foreign competition;
  3. In Colombia, 68 fired injured GM workers formed an association (ASOTRECOL) and, after exhausting all established channels for redress, erected a protest encampment at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota;
  4. These workers under the leadership of the Association’s President, Jorge Parra, took their protest to the U.S. Embassy out of a belief that the Obama administration would require the Colombian government to enforce the labor rights guaranteed in the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) “Labor Action Plan”;
  5. Nearly six years later a handful of these workers continue their encampment and have inspired, by the power of their example, a growing wave of resistance by other injured workers at their former factory, and from other industries across their country;
  6. They and allies in the USA have exposed the failure of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement to protect the rights of Colombian workers, even those employed by a company headquartered on U.S. soil which was bailed out by U.S. taxpayers, and was then under U.S. government control;
  7. They, by their dramatic non-violent actions, including hunger strikes (with lips sewn shut), have brought worldwide attention to their fight and thereby inspired a solidarity network to sustain them;
  8. The U.S. Embassy under Ambassador Kevin Whitaker has interfered with this growing cross border solidarity by dissuading official U.S. delegations from visiting the injured workers in their encampment, and by standing behind the brutal 2014 beating of three of the injured workers by Embassy employees in response to a non-violent protest;
  9. The Consulate Office of the Embassy abruptly, arbitrarily and without justification cancelled Jorge Parra’s visa on the eve of his planned 6-state tour May 31- June 19, 2017, violating all protocols and due process by delivering the unsealed form letter to a third party;
  10. On several previous occasions Jorge Parra with the same visa traveled to the USA to report on, and win recognition of, ASOTRECOL’s struggle without incident or interference;
  11. This action deliberately blocks U.S. workers from hearing about the consequences of so-called “Free Trade” agreements on the workers in the “partner” nations – at a time when NAFTA and other agreements are being called into question and are subject to renegotiation; And
  12. The attempt to censor this heroic workers’ struggle is unacceptable as it is aimed at breaking the growing solidarity between the Colombian GM workers and the U.S. workers’ movement, to the detriment of both;

Be it resolved that we will:

  1. Send notice to U.S. Ambassador Kevin Whitaker demanding the immediate reinstatement of Jorge Parra’s visa;
  2. Send notice of our demand to U.S. Congressional representatives responsible for monitoring the implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement “Labor Action Plan,” calling on their direct intervention;
  3. Call on the Ambassador and U.S. Congressional representatives to do everything in their power to broker a just settlement between GM/GM Colmotores and ASOTRECOL;
  4. Send financial aid to ASOTRECOL to help sustain them in their struggle; And
  5. Send communications to affiliated labor unions/solidarity organizations to join our efforts, broaden educational outreach and, if necessary, initiate nonviolent solidarity actions to win the reinstatement of Jorge Parra’s visa, and assist ASOTRECOL in winning justice.
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